Merger threatens global beer diversity

According to the Washington Post, the world's two biggest beer makers are considering merging in what is being touted as the biggest deal in brewing history.

Budweiser giant Anheuser-Busch InBev said it has offered a takeover of SABMiller in a deal that would create a US$245 billion brewing empire.

"What a terrible, terrible idea. This should be dead on arrival at the DOJ," (Department of Justice), said Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute.

"There would be grave concerns over their power to control price . . . and the effects on the craft-brewing industry would be devastating."

The long-speculated merger would combine Budweiser, Coors, Miller, Peroni and other brands, providing control to about one-third of the world's beer supply.

Anheuser-Busch InBev was itself born of the world's biggest beer merger, in 2008, after it was taken over by InBev – also a product of the 2004 merger of Belgium's Interbrew and Brazil's AmBev.

Because both brewers are so big, and the industry is already so consolidated, it could be hard to find another firm powerful enough to compete on production, distribution, marketing and everything else, according to the Washington Post.

"Who would be able to even buy any of those assets, and have an actual competitive presence in the market?" Moss said.