If you’re a craft brewer or a supporter of craft brewing, as surprising as it may sound, yes, it could!
While the rumoured merger of the global number one and number two brewers might sound like a small brewery’s worst nightmare, it could actually work to the advantage of smaller-scale brewers in North America and Europe. For the reasoning behind this apparently illogical theory, let’s turn to Tom Pirko, director of consulting for the f&b analysis and consulting firm, Bevmark, as reported by Convenience Store News:
“Coke and Pepsi shouldn’t merge, and these companies should think of themselves as the Coke and Pepsi of the beer business,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s about beating your competition, but also about being sharpened by them. The more you compete against each other, the stronger you both become.”
So, in becoming one company rather than two strong competitors, a merged ABIB/SABM could actually become a more dilute firm, with a strong eye for developing markets in the BRIC countries, but waning interest in established markets. An interesting perspective.
(Note: Like most analysts, I don’t actually expect anything will come of these merger rumours, or at least not any time soon. The companies might be a good fit in terms of territories and strengths — about the only regions of competitiveness concern would the the U.S. and China — but the cultures are such that integration would take years. The Pepsi/Coke analogy is apt, I think, and the merger equally unlikely.)