Anheuser-Busch, which recently became Anheuser-Busch InBev (A-B InBev) in a massive merger, sells 25% of the world’s beer and 48% of the beer in the United States before their recent acquisition of Grupo Modelo (more info on that soon). When you look around the supermarket or liquor store at all the choices, you may not realize how many actually belong to this company. Here are some of the most popular and surprising ones.
These Guys are Owned by Anheuser-Busch.
Shock Top was devised as a competitor to Blue Moon, and since it is brewed in Fort Collins, Colorado, no one would ever guess to associate it with their parent company in St. Louis. Since its inception in 2006, the brand has grown from a single beer to several different specialty and seasonal brews. Its marketing is very recognizable for its lemon head logo and is ubiquitous where beer is sold due to Anheuser-Busch’s sway in the distribution system.
Rolling Rock was long independent after springing up after the end of prohibition. However, in 2006 the label was purchased by Anheuser-Busch and its traditional brewing facilities were subsequently abandoned. Despite leaving the facilities, the brand has retained its motto, “From the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe, we tender this premium beer for your enjoyment as a tribute to your good taste. It comes from the mountain springs to you.” In the interest of not blatantly lying, they added “To honor the tradition of this great brand, we quote from the original pledge of quality.” Since A-B’s merger with Rolling Rock’s old owner, InBev, they have been trying to sell the brand.
Land Shark Lager
Marketed as the house lager for Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurants, this pale lager that is served in clear bottles has long seemed a domestic competitor to Corona. Given its fairly obvious connection to Buffett and his restaurants, it may come as a surprise that this beer belongs to the world’s largest beer company.
Goose Island Brewery
Once a favorite of craft beer enthusiasts, Anheuser-Busch purchased the Chicago-based brewery in 2011. While not all offerings have been effected by the purchase (beyond more widespread distribution), many became concerned when brewmaster Greg Hall resigned following the purchase. After a modest investment in expanding the original Chicago-based brewing facility, the non-speciality brews are now brewed at Anheuser-Busch facilities in Fort Collins, Colorado and Baldwinsville, New York, to the alarm of some Goose Island fans.
Michelob is well over a century old and has always been a possession of the Busch family, who founded it. The brand has undergone several changes over the years and has lately been a brand that introduces different seasonal and specialty beers. Its apparent non-relation to Anheuser-Busch, as conveyed in advertising, allows the brand to appear to be a competitor to both Budweiser and the Miller-Coors brands. Its Michelob Ultra brew is a favorite among hotties nation-wide.
After a fight with the U.S. Justice Department, Anheuser-Busch InBev successfully purchased Grupo Modelo, the owner of Corona. Grupo Modelo also owns Negra Modelo, Estrella, and Pacifico. Corona is the number 5 selling beer in the United States, making it the country’s top import. While the deal worked out with the Justice Department will prevent A-B InBev from making too many management decisions with the brand, all the money involved will still belong to the Anheuser-Busch.
Is there a magic code?
Beer companies are not required to disclose their corporate parentage on the label. At this point, it is difficult to know whether the beer you’re buying is actually craft or a unique import or just one of many centralized holdings of a massive conglomerate. For some, this is not a big deal. If you like a beer, you like it. Some others prefer to support small businesses or may feel more assured that the quality will be high if they know the beer does not come from one of the several large corporations that dominate the world beer industry. Others still may feel the exact opposite – Information is always positive.
Either way, Happy Friday, and enjoy whatever it is you decide to drink this weekend!