The Anheuser-Busch takeover of Mexico's Modelo beer brands (including your beloved Corona) is imminently close, now that the sale has cleared a big regulatory hurdle. Anheuser-Busch now has permission to buy up to 100 percent of Modelo's shares from Mexico's National Foreign Investment Commission, but still needs the OK from U.S. regulatory commissions. But if the deal for Modelo goes through, craft brewers warn, the consolidation is going to hurt your craft brewers, big time.
Brooklyn Brewery's Steve Hindy pleaded for the case of craft brewers on CNN, and said the "duopoly" of big beer brands in America (that would be Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors) would have a huge impact on distribution and wholesale. And if this sale goes through, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors would control 80 percent of the brands on shelves. (Even those beers that no one is drinking.) And, as Mother Jones' Tom Philpott summarizes, those brands want that room. And big brewer execs are trying to convince retailers that the multitude of craft beers on shelves is actually hurting business; Philpott summarizes big brewers' argument well. "Supermarkets and corner stores might think they make more money by finding space on the shelves for independent craft beers, but they actually sell more beer and book more profits by dropping craft beers and sticking with the giants," writes Philpott.
If the big brewers win out, it leaves little room for the craft breweries of America. And despite our love for the craft breweries, the 2,4000 breweries out there only make up 6 percent of the total U.S. beer market. Well, if anyone can take on the Goliath of beer, it's the microbreweries.