The four biggest international brewing companies, Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, London-listed SABMiller, Dutch brewer Heineken, and Denmark’s Carlsberg, brew more than 50 per cent of the world’s beer according to UK-based beer market analyst Plato Logic.
Anheuser-Busch InBev assumed the top position in 2008 with the takeover of US-based Anheuser Busch by the Belgium-based InBev. The merged company, which had beer volumes of around 350 million hectolitres in 2009, boasts four of the top ten selling beers in the world, including the number one or number two position in over 20 markets worldwide. AB-InBev’s total portfolio extends to over 200 brands including:
- Stella Artois
The brewer has also brewed and distributed XXXX under licence since 2003, and also owns a 50 percent equity interest in the operating subsidiary of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo (7th), owner of the global Corona brand.
In 2008 AB InBev’s combined revenue was USD39 billion(AUD45 billion).
Highlighting the complex business arrangements surrounding international beer marketing in Australia, AB-InBev doesn’t have a brewing footprint locally but has a variety of distribution and marketing agreements. Budweiser has been distributed by Kirin-owned Lion Nathan since September 2009. Prior to that Budweiser had been distributed by Premium Beverages, Coopers’ distribution arm. Budweiser joined another AB-InBev-owned brand, Beck’s, at Lion Nathan, which also markets Heineken, from the world’s number three brewer.
AB-InBev brands are also marketed by Foster’s, including Hoegaarden, Leffe and Stella Artois. Foster’s also markets Carlsberg from the world’s number four brewer.
With combined output of 350 million hectolitres AB-InBev places well ahead of former number one, SABMiller at just under 250 million hectolitres. SABMiller’s portfolio includes:
- Pilsner Urquell
- Miller Genuine Draft
SABMiller is also one of the world’s largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products and operates in Australia through Pacific Beverages, a joint venture with Coca-Cola Amatil. In 2007 Pacific Beverages purchased Australia’s Bluetongue Brewery, brewers of the Bluetongue beers and Bondi Blonde, and in 2008 commenced building a new $120-million brewery near Newcastle.
With just over 200 million hectolitres, Heineken, is the world’s third largest brewer. Heineken’s main brands are its eponymous main lager and Amstel. It also owns Newcastle Brown Ale, Birra Moretti and Maes as well as the Foster’s brand in the UK. In January this year Heineken purchased Mexico’s FEMSA for USD5.7 billion (AUD6.5 billion). FEMSA is the world’s second biggest Coca-Cola bottler and brews Dos Equis, Tecate and Sol. Heineken is also joint owner of Asia Pacific Breweries Limited, which in turn owns New Zealand’s DB Breweries, brewers of Monteith’s and Tui. Asia Pacific Breweries Limited also owns the Tiger brand.
Carlsberg, in fourth place with around 125 million hectolitres, owns Carlsberg, Tuborg and Kronenbourg all brewed under licence in Australian by Foster’s. Carlsberg also owns the non-alcoholic Birrell brand, brewed under licence in Australia by Coopers. It also wholly owns Russia’s Baltika Breweries, with Baltika #3 brewed under licence in Australia by Independent Breweries. Other brands include Holsten, Birra Poretti and Tetley’s.
Seventh placed Kirin owns Lion Nathan and Philippines’ San Miguel. Lion Nathan owns brands across Australia and New Zealand, including XXXX, Tooheys, Steinlager, Mac’s, Hahn and Malt Shovel Breweries, makers of the James Squire range.
Other brewers in the top 10 are North American brewer Molson-Coors Brewing Co (6th), Mexico’s Grupo Modelo (7th), China’s Beijing Yanjing Brewery Co Ltd (8th) and Asahi Breweries Ltd (10th).