Back in 2002, South African Breweries bought Miller Brewing, forming SABMiller. And then, in 2005, Coors merged with Canada’s Molson to form Molson Coors. And of course, earlier this year Belgian brewing giant InBev bought Anheuser-Busch. Are there any AMERICAN brewers left any more?
Look, I’m not normally one of those “BUY AMERICAN!” people. There are several reasons for this. First of all, American companies own huge chunks of foreign companies around the world, so it would be hypocritical of me to scream “BUY AMERICAN!” then complain when British people bought Sainsbury’s baked beans instead of Heinz. Secondly, global business is such that it’s hard to tell what’s “American” and what’s not these days. My maternal grandfather would never even have considered buying a “foreign” car, even if Ford owned 25% of that “foreign” company, or even if 45% of the car’s parts were made in the US and the whole thing was assembled in Tennessee. I just don’t have the time and energy to track down who owns what or where it’s made, so I just try to buy the best thing I can afford. Lastly, although I generally don’t have a problem with patriotism, there’s just something… ugly about “BUY AMERICAN!”. There’s an implicit xenophobia there, as if the Belgians are going to buy Anheuser-Busch… then take our women! As my econ professor pointed out, foreigners buy American companies because they’re a good investment, not to run them into the ground or take them home with them. Back in the 90s, there was a huge brouhaha in Atlanta over a Japanese company buying the IBM Tower… which my econ professor put into perspective by joking “What, are they gonna put it on a flatbed and take it home with them?”
Whew! With that rant done, let me get to the point of this article, which is this: now that America’s top 3 brewers are all either completely or partially foreign-owned, can you guess which are the three largest American-owned brewers?
1) The Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams)
3) Sierra Nevada