InBev brewing up plans to bring Bud to the world http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080720/bs_afp/belgiumdrinkbeercompanyinbevbusch_080720042015
BRUSSELS (AFP) - InBev may be based in Belgium and have strong ties to Brazil, but the brewing giant has grand plans to sell Budweiser -- what it calls America in a bottle -- to the world.
But InBev and its ambitious Brazilian chief executive Carlos Brito face a huge challenge to convince the world that it wants the iconic American brew as they try to make their 52-billion-dollar takeover of Budweiser-owner Anheuser-Busch pay off.
"Budweiser brings the great America in a bottle. That's what consumers love," Brito told journalists last week as he announced InBev's planned takeover of Anheuser-Busch.
During the month-long takeover battle for Anheuser-Busch, Brito sought to win over the sceptical board at his US rival by promising to make Budweiser the merged company's flagship international premium brew.
Using InBev's extensive international distribution network, he said he envisaged Budweiser following in the steps of other well-known American consumer products that ventured beyond US shores.
"When I look at other American companies that have done this before -- like McDonald's, like Pepsi, like Coke, like Frito-Lays, so many companies that have expanded abroad -- I'm very excited," Brito said.
"We have the footprint, we have the knowledge of those local markets," he said.
However, consumer analyst Mike Hughes at market research group Datamonitor said that bringing an iconic American product to the global market might not be as easy in the age of globalisation with countless products vying for consumers' attention.
"The thing to remember about a lot of brands like Coca-Cola is that they were introduced decades ago when there wasn't the choice we have today," Hughes said. "It's a lot more difficult to replicate than 30 or 40 years ago."
InBev, which has some 200 brands in its portfolio, has already tried to catapult brands such as Stella Artois, Beck's and Brahma into the international premium beer market.
Although InBev has had limitted success, analyst Kris Kippers at Belgian brokerage Petercam sees better prospects for transforming Budweiser into an international brand of choice for beer lovers.
He said that Budweiser was already such a well-known brand internationally that simply by making it available in stores and pubs through InBev's distribution network would "make a big difference."
"The question now is cannibalisation between the brands that are pointed out as global brands will be somewhat different," he said. "I don't know if Beck's and Budweiser can live next to each other on the same shelf. It depends on how consumers react."
While also optimistic that InBev will be able to transform Budweiser into an international premium beer, JPMorgan analyst Mike J Gibbs said it would take a lot of money to do it.
"Even with high awareness and distribution clout, building a real presence for Bud in many markets is going to require substantial marketing investment," he said in a research note.
But before InBev can convince the world it wants to buy a cold Bud, it faces legal hurdles in many countries because a century-old trademark dispute with Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar.
The Czech brewery, which claims to have a total of 380 registered trademarks in more than 100 countries, has frequently clashed with the much bigger Anheuser-Busch in various courts about the rights to the Budweiser brand.
Petercam's Kippers said that one option for InBev would simply be to buy the Budvar brewery, although he said that would be unlikely for some time as InBev and Anheuser-Busch would have their hands full merging.
I'm going to be blunt here...my money is against this venture, but you never know, a good saleman can sell block ice to an Inuit if he wants to bad enough.
First off, I saw the listed obituaries; there are people that are 'mourning' an American icon because of the takeover of Anheuser-Busch. Problem is, an icon should be mourned only if its a good one. And that's the problem; Budweiser is fucking rat piss in a bottle. I hate the shit, and they want to market it as their flagship international brew? Good luck man.
Knowing that some things are marketed elsewhere in the world as a decent product, maybe it will work. I understand that Wal-Mart is actually regarded as a good store in China, and when my brother went to Hungary a few years ago, he found that McDonalds in Budapest are actually classy restaurants, supposedly in Moscow too...go figure.
So I'm guessing that InBev will tweak the 'king of beers' formula to fit the markets they're pushing it in, so we'll see. Thing is, InBev markets brews Stella Artois and Hoegaarden...their customers know what a good Belgian ale is, so then how do they expect Bud has a chance in hell against an honest-to-god European level beer unless they completely alter it?
I may be American but guess what, Bud is swill with beer flavoring. I drink mostly imports from Europe and the British Isles. Here in US borders most drinkers know it's really about the microbrew...mainstream beer has been broke for years. If this is 'America in a bottle' we might want to reconsider that...hardly the time to sour world opinion any further by bottling dishwater and shipping it abroad