Anheuser-Busch (A-B) has brewed up a billion-dollar business with its Buds. The company is best known for brewing Budweiser, one of the world's largest-selling beers by volume. Other A-B labels include Bud Light, Busch, Michelob, O'Doul's, and Kirin under license. A-B's dozen breweries ships beverages to about 600 independent wholesalers nationwide. Besides beer, the company also produces distilled beverages, energy drinks, and non-alcoholic malt beverages. It has operated as a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world's largest beer maker, since the Belgium brewer acquired A-B for $52 billion in 2008.
Eclipsing SABMiller's market position, A-B offers some 200 beer brands and holds a nearly 50% share in US beer sales to retailers. A-B's non-alcohol brews include O'Doul's, malt liquors King Cobra and Hurricane Ice, and specialty malts (via an alliance with Bacardi). It distributes Monster Beverage (formerly Hansen Natural) non-alcoholic beverages, including Monster Energy.
To keep all its products moving, the brewer distributes them through a network of more than 600 independent wholesalers and company-owned distributors in Massachusetts, Ohio, Colorado, Oregon, California, Kentucky, New York, Hawaii, and Oklahoma. Its business is supported through the company's dozen US breweries. Incidentally, it's a major maker of aluminum cans and a top recycler of them for three decades).
As part of its business, A-B operates the global Busch Agricultural Resources, which sources and produces raw materials for its brew masters, and an extensive packing operation that includes Anheuser-Bush Packaging Group, Metal Container Corp., Anheuser-Busch Recycling Corp., Longhorn Glass Corp., and Eagle Packaging.
Mergers and Acquisitions
A-B has continued to evolve its business by tapping the premium and specialty beer markets. In 2011 it bought Chicago's Goose Island Beer (also known as Fulton Street Brewery) from Craft Brewers Alliance for $38 million. Licensing agreements have helped to extend A-B's reach. It has a licensing agreement with Japan's Kirin Brewery to make and market its beers in the US; Budweiser is brewed and sold in Japan through Kirin. Budweiser is licensed for brew and sale in the Republic of Ireland through Guinness Ireland (Diageo), in Italy through Heineken, and through a various agreements with other brewers in Spain, India, Panama, Chile, and Argentina. A-B also enjoys the title of the Official Beer Sponsor of Major League Baseball; it extended the partnership with the league through 2018.
Worldwide sales of Budweiser, considered the national beer brand of the US, grew 6% in 2012 after the brand's introduction in Brazil and Ukraine. It generated more than 10% of AB InBev's global volumes in 2012. Bud sales outside the US now account for just over half the beer's volume.
Sales and Marketing
A-B also shares in the cost saving synergies created by its takeover as well as the benefits from exchanging best practices in sales, distribution, and marketing, to name a few. The company became the North American headquarters of the Belgium brewer after the combination.