Inbev the Belgian/Brazilian brewing conglomerate finalized its purchase of Anheuser-Busch the U.S. #1 in terms of sales brewer (link). With both Coors and Miller being part of similar international conglomerates, Sam Adams is now America’s largest brewer followed by Yuengling and Sierra Nevada.
An interesting question though is what makes an American beer (besides a lot of water and little hops). If Budweiser, Coors, and Miller are all produced in the US, using American grain, with mainly American workers, but the company is owned by an international conglomerate is the American? What about Toyota and Honda, both Japanese companies, but if they produce their cars in the U.S. with American parts and workers are they American companies? What about Coca-Cola, which has local bottling plants around the world, which produce and distribute their product is Coca-Cola American if it is produced in Colombia or Angola?
Economists have different ways of measuring economic output depending on which definition you want to use. For the most part, I’m under the impression that it does not make a big difference. What is worth noting is with the U.S.’s large trade deficits we have to exchange something for all the imports we get. One way is to sell off businesses and other assets. Along with the growing economies of scale in a global market for beer and other products, I think we’ll see more of these types of buyouts.
I don’t know what’s next, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the big 3 automakers was purchased by a foreign conglomerate. Until then let’s be proud to call Sam Adams America’s #1 beer.