The tides of change reached the shores of motorsports this week as Anheuser-Busch announced that Budweiser will no longer serve as the official beer of the Anheuser-Busch series and that its thirty years of support for Kenny Bernstein Racing’s NHRA team has been put on the blocks. According to Anheuser-Busch this ends a historic association that over-takes STP’s 28 year sponsorship of NASCAR’s Richard “The King” Petty as the longest run between a racer and a sponsor.
Anheuser-Busch hasn’t announced who they’re going to throw their sponsorship behind for 2009. They may go with Kasey Kahne, who they sponsored in 2008, after the departure of Dale Earnhardt Jr. for Hendricks Motorsports at the end of 2007. But they estimate they only received around 12 million in benefits due to this arrangement, less than fifty percent of the exposure value they received using Dale Earnhardt Jr., so they might be looking around for someone they figure is a little more high-profile to help them return a little more value for their dollar.
Kasey Kahne is probably crossing his fingers and planning on Budweiser continuing their relationship, it’s hard to find sponsors in the current economic climate and I’m sure the last thing we wants to do is find a new sponsor for 2009. Budweiser on the other hand, is probably wishing Richard or Dale were still available, instead of being otherwise occupied.
We’ve reported on the sale of Anheuser Busch and its flagship Budweiser brand beer to InBev. At this point, A-B and Budweiser are effectively synonymous, at least in the US, but there was a time when there were many different Budweiser beers across the US (including one brewed by Miller). Indeed, the name “Budweiser” really just means “from Budweis” in German, much as “Pilsener” means “from Pilsen.” US brewers, familiar with the long brewing history of Budweis, used the name in the US to connote old-world brewing quality.
The last of the American Budweisers was brewed by the DuBois brewing company of DuBois, Pennsylvania. DuBois first started brewing its Budweiser in 1905, long after A-B, but the St Louis giant failed to challenge the small Pennsylvania brewery until some 35 years later. The dispute was solved once and for all in 1972, after DuBois was purchased by the Pittsburgh brewing company. DuBois stopped brewing shortly thereafter, and the brewery building was razed in 2003.
That leaves A-B’s Budweiser and it’s international archrival Budweiser Budvar, from the Czech Republic as the only two Budweisers left.
image courtesy of Mark, public domain
Joris Pattyn, a Belgian beer expert and champion of Belgian beers, recently gave Budweiser a whirl. Pattyn tried out InBev’s newest “flagship” beer and didn’t exactly give rave reviews. Among other things Pattyn had to say, he commented that Budweiswer was “a beer for students getting drunk…it will take hours but eventually it will happen.”
Hmm, wasn’t that Bud’s slogan?
You can see what else Pattyn had to say here:
Say “hallo” to the new face of Budweiser: the Belgian brewer InBev has confirmed that it will purchase Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion, creating the world largest brewer. The purchase will result in the fourth-largest consumer product company worldwide.
The Missouri based Anheuser-Busch was America’s largest brewer and the world’s second largest. Its brands include Budweiser (”the great American lager”), Bud Light, Michelob and Busch.
InBev’s brands include Stella Artois and Becks.
InBev claims that it will use St. Louis as its North American headquarters. InBev has also promised that it will keep open all 12 of Anheuser-Busch’s North American breweries, which are located in:
- St. Louis, Missouri (world headquarters)
- Baldwinsville, New York
- Cartersville, Georgia
- Columbus, Ohio
- Fairfield, California
- Fort Collins, Colorado
- Houston, Texas
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California
- Merrimack, New Hampshire
- Newark, New Jersey
- Williamsburg, Virginia
InBev has not promised to retain all A-B employees. It is widely believed that the company will see cutbacks as cost-cutting has been a central theme of A-B’s failed preservation plan. How significant those cutbacks will be is yet to be seen.
There’s a lot of speculation about the result of the merger - but not a lot of information. What do you think? Is this a bad thing for beer?
Despite what is an apparent confirmation that InBev is moving ahead with its acquisition of Anheuser-Busch, fans of A-B are still hopeful.
An online petition at SaveBudweiser.com has garnered nearly 62,000 signatures. You can sign the petition here.
You can also buy a “Save Budweiser” tee shirt on the site. The “keep our beer here” shirts run $8.
InBev, the Belgian brewer, in talks to buy American brewer Anheuser-Busch, has indicated to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it will replace all of the current serving board members of A-B. The proposed board includes Adolphus Busch IV, who has encouraged A-B to negotiate with InBev.
InBev has offered 35% over the current share price for A-B and 18% over the previous all-time high. Yet, A-B rejected the proposal last month.
Don’t misconstrue my disbelief. Like Chris, I won’t lose any sleep over the purchase - after all, I’m more likely to pick up an InBev brewed Stella Artois or Beck’s than a Bud. But I’m not gung ho to see another American company sold either.
That said, I can’t imagine how turning down the purchase is good for shareholders. A-B is not in a favorable economic position right. To keep the company, A-B has been forced into an extensive reorganization to increase profits and cut costs, measures that InBev has criticized.
A-B responded to the filing by saying the move “is a self-serving effort by InBev to try to purchase Anheuser-Busch for a price Anheuser-Busch’s independent board already has determined to be financially inadequate and not in the best interest of shareholders.”
Financially inadequate, really? Almost 20% over the high price to date?
Call a spade a spade: it’s clear that A-B doesn’t want to sell. InBev has claimed that the company is unwilling to even enter into discussions on a takeover.
That behavior seems to be what’s not in the best interest of shareholders. The speculation hasn’t helped for sure: shares of A-B closed Monday at $61.74 - still less than the $65 offer made by InBev previously.
No, Obama is not tossing back Bud Lights in an effort to shake his “elitist” tag - but he is standing behind Anheuser-Busch these days. At a news conference in St. Louis, Obama said it would be “a shame” if Anheuser-Busch were to be acquired by a foreign company.
I wonder what John McCain thinks - since his wife’s wealth is tied to A-B, I’m guessing he would think it’s quite a shame, too.
Apparently this is the week of the stupid beer drinker (well, it is a holiday week in the US). After I reported on the three teens who robbed a convenience store and left a trail of beer cans behind, I came across this little gem…
On the other end of the age spectrum, a 74 year old woman drove through Joe’s Food Mart and Video in Norwalk, California - only Joe’s isn’t a drive through.
Lynne Rice drove her 1988 Cadillac halfway through the store, destroying 2 glass panels. She then got out of the car, walked to the cooler and attempted to buy a six pack of Budweiser. The clerk declined the sale (good move) and called 911. Rice was arrested for investigation of misdemeanor driving under the influence.
Thankfully, nobody was injured. No word on what happened to the Budweiser.
So, here’s a strange beer fact for you. Last year, Anheuser-Busch gave $100,000 to Al Sharpton’s charity which, as it happens, is currently being investigated for misuse of charity funds for his presidential campaign. That’s particularly ironic given the source of much of John McCain’s cash.
I guess they’re just hedging their bets.
So, does anyone really think Rob Riggle drinks Bud? For more on the silliness of the major breweries’ ad campaigns, check out this post from Philly’s own Joe Sixpack.