OK, it looks like the deal is done. Anheuser-Busch will be acquired by InBev, the Belgian/Brazilian brewer, and the combined company will create the largest brewing and distribution network in the world. Like most born and raised in the St. Louis area, I didn’t want it to happen, but I’m not surprised. Wave enough cash and you’ll find a seller.
We all can name a list of former St. Louis icons that became less-than-willing acquisitions: May Company (Famous-Barr), TWA, McDonnell-Douglass, Stix, Baer and Fuller, Ralston Purina, and, even the St. Louis Cardinals all denied early on that they would be sold. At least the Cardinals are still here. (Stay tuned, we’ll see about the Rams.)
But the message being sent by some A-B supporters of “if the deal goes through, I won’t drink Budweiser” is a knee-jerk and overly emotional reaction to the deal. My first question to the “boycotters” is, if not Bud, what? Miller? It’s owned by SABMiller and the SAB stands for South African Brewers. Coors? Just merged with Miller. St. Louis based Schlafly? Good as long as you can get it, but their brewing capacity and distribution network can’t keep up.
Secondly, the combined AB/InBev will control 50% of the world’s beer sales. If you want to make a “no Bud” statement to make yourself feel better, that’s fine. If you think you’re bring down the giant with your slingshot and pebble you’d better have a lot of friends willing to join you.
And third: the only people hurt by your switching brews are exactly the people we want to support, the St. Louis area A-B workers, brewers, truckers and sellers.
Now I prefer Busch beer, and have been drinking it my whole adult life (and maybe a time or two before I was an adult.) I have often said that I drink Busch because nobody in the brewer’s family was named “Bud” and somebody has to keep the name alive. So unless AB/InBev decides to rename my Bavarian beer “Brito”, I’ll continue to “head for the mountains with Busch.”