Budweiser's sale to InBev: Is the King of Beers about to be colonized?

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When I was a college freshman, Budweiser truly was the king of beers. Most of the time, my drink of choice was either Natural Light or Milwaukee's Best (aka "beast"), both of which were godawfully cheap and amazingly easy to guzzle. From time to time, though, my friends and I would pool our resources, clean out the couch cushions and prevail on an older friend to pick us up a sixer of the famed Bud. And, to be honest, between its diuretic effects and bread-like flavor, Budweiser proved itself to be a handy celebratory tipple.

As time went on, my tastes matured and I began experimenting with other supercheap brands like Mickey's, Genesee, and Miller Genuine Draft. Still, part of my heart always belonged to the king, and even now, years later, I sometimes feel the urge to crack open a Bud. Of course, I generally sip a bottle of bock or hefeweisen until the feeling passes. Still, I was shocked when I read about the possible purchase of Budweiser. Never mind its German name, Budweiser is still the iconic American beer.

On the other hand, iconic American names seem to mean less and less nowadays, when General Motors uses the "Vauxhall" name overseas, Chrysler was owned by Daimler, and most electronic components are made in China. For that matter, InBev, the Belgian firm that has announced a takeover bid for Anheuser-Busch, also owns signature beers from numerous other countries, including Canada (Labatt), Germany (Beck's), the Czech Republic (Staropramen), and the United Kingdom (Bass). While I can't speak for all of InBev's 200 brands, I can absolutely state that Staropramen is as good as it ever was (which, by the way, is pretty damned good).
InBev's $46.4 billion bid for Bud led to an immediate jump in the stock's value, which made investors really happy. Moreover, the beverage company's impressive distribution network would probably increase Bud's sales, which would be a major boon to the Americans who actually brew the beer. And, to be honest, with the inflated dollar leading to the regular sales of American icons, this sort of transaction is probably something that we'll just have to get used to.

That having been said, I still wonder if Budweiser will taste the same...

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He recently tried Pabst Blue Ribbon again. It still sucks.

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