Blog: Chris Brook-Carter“My dad’s bigger than your dad.” “Yeah? Well, my dad’s AMERICAN!”

Chris Brook-Carter | 11 July 2005

Anheuser-Busch has launched its latest weapon in the escalating US beer war. The brewer is pushing its ‘American-ness’ in its home market to such an extent that some observers believe the company is verging on jingoism.

The New York Times said today (11 July) that the brewer is circulating marketing materials which criticise SABMiller and Molson Coors as being “owned by foreignors,” while boasting that AB is expanding internationally to bring profits “back to the US.”

While AB has mentioned Miller’s purchase by South African Breweries in past television adverts, the paper noted that: “Analysts said that the new campaign went further in its pro-American stance, striking a note that might seem dissonant for a company expanding rapidly overseas.”

SABMiller naturally dismissed AB’s claims. “We think this is an extraordinarily shortsighted strategy from AB,” a spokesman for the brewer told the paper. “The world is a pretty small place, and any serious multinational wouldn’t take these sorts of risks.”

So, what could AB’s thinking behind the statements be (NB: The company has refused to answer any questions about the material or respond to criticism of them)? Has the ongoing price-war in the US beer market (which it started, incidentally) got too much for them? Is the playing of the ‘American card’ by AB a sign that it worked before, so it should work again?

Oh, and while I have your attention, you may like to know that Adolphus Busch, the founder of Anheuser-Busch, was a German immigrant. As Harry Schuhmacher, publisher of Beer Business Daily, told the New York Times, in the US, “we are all foreigners.”


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