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The UK's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Good Beer Guide editor has slammed global brewers for "muscling in" on the craft sector in the UK. 

CAMRA said large companies enjoy cost savings when it comes to purchasing raw materials

CAMRA said large companies enjoy cost savings when it comes to purchasing raw materials

Roger Protz said yesterday that moves by big brewers to purchase smaller players was a cause for concern. He was speaking at the launch of the trade body's annual beer guide. 

"In 2015 SABMiller bought the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich and paid an astonishing GBP120m [then US$191m]," said Protz. "As a result of the takeover of SAB, ownership passed to Anheuser-Busch InBev. In order to meet the demands of regulators in the United States and the European Union, AB InBev has had to divest some of its brands and breweries and has sold Meantime to Asahi of Japan."

Protz went on to highlight AB InBev's subsequent GBP85m Camden Town acquisition. He said the firm would "use its marketing muscle to undercut competitors".

In an interview in the guide, professor John Colley of Warwick University's Business School said the likes of AB InBev and SABMiller can strip costs from production as a result of their ability to bulk buy raw materials such as grain and hops. He said large firms could see a 40% saving compared to smaller companies. 

When AB InBev bought Modelo it stripped 20% of costs from the company and with Beck's it took out 15% of costs, Colley said. He estimated AB InBev's acquisition of SABMiller will generate cost savings of US$1.4bn. CAMRA said the end result is cheaper beer that drives other brewers' products off bars and supermarket shelves.

"The way in which the global brewers are muscling in on the craft sector in Britain and other countries is a cause for concern and a potential threat to the independent sector," said Protz. "In its 44-year history, the guide has never been complacent and believes that beer drinkers' choice and freedom demand constant vigilance."

Who cares if Anheuser-Busch InBev buys more craft brewers? - Comment


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