Wednesday, October 31, 2012

These are the people who own Goose Island. Are you disgusted yet? What does it take, anyway?

This story has been linked far and wide, but if you haven't yet seen it, learn exactly why "there has never been a beer company like AB InBev," and how the reasons bode ill for anyone interested in beer, as opposed to ways of making money.

The Plot to Destroy America's Beer, by Devin Leonard (Bloomberg Business Week)

... The man in charge of AB InBev is 52-year-old Carlos Brito. The Brazilian-born chief executive is a millionaire many times over. He speaks English fluently and dresses like the manager of a local hardware store. At the Manhattan headquarters, he wears jeans to work and tucks in his shirts. He keeps his company identification badge clipped to his waist where everybody can see it, even though everyone knows who he is. To the rest of the world, he keeps a low profile. He does not, for example, accept interview requests from Bloomberg Businessweek. That might be his character, and it might be calculated. The Busch family is a legendary American dynasty. Many people in the U.S. aren’t thrilled that a foreign company now owns Budweiser, America’s beer.

This is not to say that Brito lacks American admirers. Many can be found on Wall Street, where investors care less about where beers are brewed than about how profitable they are. This is where Brito shines. After InBev bought Anheuser-Busch, he slashed costs at the combined company by $1.1 billion in a single year. AB InBev’s margins widened substantially, and its share price has nearly quadrupled since the takeover. In 2011, Brito made Fortune magazine’s Fantasy Sports Executive League Dream Team as a designated hitter ...

As I've noted elsewhere, Brito actually has a point. If the goal is to make mass market swill with little differentiation between numerous wretched brands, then why bother spending money on quality ingredients?

Goose Island, anyone?

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