Thursday, July 17, 2008

This Bud's For You

Are you mad as hell that Anheuser-Busch was sold to foreigners?

Are you determined never to drink a Bud again? OK, Anheuser-Busch makes about forty brands of beer including Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Select, Michelob, Michelob Light, Michelob Ultra, Busch, Busch Light, Busch Ice, Natural Light, Natural Ice and others. Don’t drink any of them.

Ok, switch to Miller. Well, Miller is owned by SABMiller which is a South African company. Miller makes all of the following brands so mark them off your list: Miller High Life, Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, Olde English 800, Milwaukee’s Best, Mickey's, Icehouse, Hamm's, Red Dog, SouthPaw Light, and Leinenkugel's.

Ok, you say, I will drink Coors, good old Colorado Kool-Aid. Sorry, Coors is owned by the Molson Coors Brewing Company, a Canadian company.

OK, Pabst Blue Ribbon? Sorry, they are also owned by SABMiller.

Schlitz? That is another SABMiller company.

Rolling Rock? I like Rolling Rock. When I don’t drink Corona, unless Pabst is cheaper, I drink Rolling Rock. Rolling Rock, brewed in Latrobe Pennsylvania by Rolling Rock Brewery, was American before InBev bought it, then Anheuser-Busch bought it from InBev, and now InBev has bought Anheuser-Busch. So, Rolling Rock is now a foreign owned beer, again; I think.

Don’t despair. If you really want to drink American there are lots of American beers. The largest of the American brands is Samuel Adams, and there are many smaller American breweries and there are many local brewpubs across America.

But, why do you care if the parent company of your favorite beer is a foreign owned? I don’t. I am concerned about the falling value of the dollar which makes some of these acquisitions possible. But, I am just as concerned that falling dollar makes oil and other foreign good expensive, as I am that it makes American goods and companies a bargain for foreigners. I am also concerned about our tax policy that over taxes American businesses and puts them at a competitive disadvantage with foreign companies. But, I do not despair when an American icon falls into foreign hands.

Some years ago, many American’s were outraged when Rockefeller Center was purchased by a Japanese company. I think since then however, it is back in American hands. But, as far as I can tell, it did not affect me one way or the other.

Mercedes purchased Chrysler about ten years ago, and to listen to some pundits you would have thought America’s days were numbered. We are still here.

I see consolidations, changes in ownerships, and greater world wide economic integrations as the normal evolution of capitalism and see it as a positive development. It is a natural development that capital and labor will cross national borders and that the world will get smaller. Worldwide investment and trade is lifting people out of poverty and making the world a safer place. I suspect that Wal-Mart has lifted more people out of poverty than all the economic aid ever handed out. I suspect that China is less of a doctrinaire Communist state, partly due to Wal-Mart.

I have this theory: If prior to Peal Harbor, Japan would have had the same level of investment in Hawaii as they have today, Japan would have never attacked Pearl Harbor.

So, let us not despair about multi-national corporations owning your favorite beer. If it really bothers you, maybe you can invest some money in a mutual fund that invests in foreign companies including InBev. That way, you can be part owner of your favorite beer.

Let us all join hand: Red, Yellow, Black, and White; Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Jew. Let us lift a bottle and toast the multi-national corporation, capitalism, free trade and the withering away of the nation state: “This Buds for you.”

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  1. Yes, we're mad as hell that Anheuser-Busch was sold to foreigners. We formed DrinkAmerican.US to inform the public about what else is available to drink now that every large-scale brewery in America is foreign owned.

  2. Hey, actually, Pabst isn't owned by miller - it's owned by a california-based charitable trust - you can check it out on wikipedia.

  3. Bravo. But be careful. You sound like a Libertarian.

  4. Andrew,
    Is pragmatic moderate Libertarian an oxymoron?

  5. First - I don't really care - personally, I like Sam Adams anyway. But, living here in the Tampa Bay area - I just want to make sure my entertainment at Busch Gardens remains unhindered!

  6. You know, I've never even tried beer.

  7. You are correct about Rolling Rock. It was owned by InBev for a number of years, and then they sold it to AB--who immediately closed down the brewery in Latrobe and started making it in New Jersey.

    If you want American-made beer, consider craft beers...they really are superior in taste as well.