Germany AB InBev Explores $1.2 Billion Sale of German Beer Brands

Discussion in 'Europe' started by jesskidden, Oct 5, 2021.

  1. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,314) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    From Bloomberg in the US:
  2. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,182) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Hmm. "Less exportable." This does not bode well for my favorite import.
  3. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (138) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    I actually got a chuckle out of that 'less exportable' quote. My question is whether those bean counters ever really put any effort into exporting and selling those brands--especially in the US. They've done very little here in the US with the Spaten/Franziskaner/Lowenbrau brands.

    The Spaten/Franziskaner brands are regular sellers at the bigger liquor stores here. I seldom have problem finding reasonably fresh product (i.e. 3-4 months old easily, sometimes fresher). I know I complained in another thread about old Oktoberfest, but they sold through the old stock and I'm now enjoying Ur-Märzen bottled in June. They seem to move quite lot of green bottled beer with no effort.

    I would also have a hard time believing that they couldn't easily sell larger quantities of Spaten Original or Lowenbrau in canned formats. If Warsteiner and Bitburger can do it, I don't see why they couldn't. They could also further leverage being in Munich to further drive sales of Oktoberfest, and other traditional styles.

    I'm sure it's just wishful thinking, but I too, would rather not see one of my favorites disappear.
  4. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,314) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, I thought that quote was kinda funny seeing as how in the US AB-InBev "imports" Beck's and St. Pauli Girl from their breweries in St. Louis and every other US AB facility, as noted (right) in the list of breweries on the TTB Label Approval.
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  5. einhorn

    einhorn Disciple (309) Nov 3, 2005 California

    Three years ago AB-INBEV tried to sell Hasseröder and Diebels Alt. They originally wanted 400m Euros, an investor group offered 200m Euros but that deal fell through.

    AB got what they really wanted many years ago (Becks), and during the first few years they decided that Hasseröder was going to be their lower priced volume beer which killed the brand (IMO). Sad to see that they couldn't do more with Spaten and Franziskaner.
  6. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (138) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    Apologies for being a bit of a pedant here, but I would argue that if AB InBev had had the will, they could have done a heck of a lot more to market and sell those beers--especially overseas. They've been seemingly treated as an afterthought, with little effort made to sell more product.
  7. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (138) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    I don't think I saw it in the article, but I'm assuming the sale of the Munich brands includes the Munich brewery complex as well?

    It also has me wondering how much the Oktoberfest actually adds to the 'Big Six's' bottom line. Or it just may not be enough to really help such a debt-saddled company as AB-InBev
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  8. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,314) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Doesn't read like it.
    I'd imagine if there is excess capacity in the German brewing industry (likely), it'd be easier to sell just the brands to brewing companies wanting to increase their brewery's efficiency but no desire to increase their other costs (buildings, labor, etc).

    That's what InBev did in the US when they sold the Rolling Rock label to... gee, who was it again? :grin:
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  9. einhorn

    einhorn Disciple (309) Nov 3, 2005 California

    I agree completely. Like I said, Beck's was the Golden Child, the other brands were an afterthought. Just a guess but Beck's probably moved to a "core" brand with more focus and marketing push and the rest were just "nice to have".
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  10. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (493) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    To be accurate, they say they are "considering a sale" which is not the same as "these brands are being sold".

    More of a trial balloon than a serious commitment. If they have a buyer lined up, at the price they want, this would be a different press release.

    Talking about hundreds of millions of dollars casually. Horse trading. That is unfortunately the reality of big brewing.


    Bloomburg is under the impression Stella Artois is from Belgium, and rest assured AB-InBev is in no rush to make the correction.
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  11. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,182) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Spaten was an afterthought in order to brew more Beck's. Seriously, Spaten was brewing Beck's for AB-InBev to keep up with demand. Maybe now that they're brewing Beck's in the U.S. they don't need Spaten anymore?
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  12. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,314) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, since the buyout/merger in 2008, they've also "explored" selling the Bass Ale and Rolling Rock labels (maybe others?) - no takers.
  13. Redrover

    Redrover Poo-Bah (3,550) Jan 18, 2003 Wisconsin

    It could be a good thing if the new buyer respects the tradition of these breweries and I agree that an aggressive market pitch in the US and other markets could really propel these beers back to the forefront.

    I would rather see them sold then wither under the Imbev umbrella.
  14. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,911) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    Constellation could probably bite. :wink:
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  15. einhorn

    einhorn Disciple (309) Nov 3, 2005 California

    It's all speculation at this point, but I was reading elsewhere that new AB Inbev boss Michel Doukeris could be considering selling Beck's along with the other German brands. The reasoning? 60% of growth is through channels outside of the beer, including new canned cocktails, canned wine, energy drinks, and E-commerce platforms. After Brito consolidated the company, he might be trying to sell the whole kit and caboodle for (alleged price tag) 1 billion Euros and then continue diversifying, something Molson Coors and Constellation have been doing for a few years now.

    Time will tell.
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  16. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (504) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    It might be easier to market an "imported brand name" like Stella (or Corona, Molson, etc. etc.) that tastes like a regular adjunct lager than to import an all-malt beer from Germany. If you offer altered German imports (as Miller did to Lowenbrau in the past), you will get bad reviews and loss of market share, at least from the fans of the original, and your advertising will have to overcome those negative issues. Probably better to take a brand name that you can put into a pretty package and manufacture in a lower cost environment.
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  17. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,182) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I don't know how they're brewing it, but just bringing production of Beck's to the U.S. seems to be altering the brand.

    Not sure how sales have been affected, but I'm also not sure how many people know the Beck's they're buying isn't imported.

    Then again, I still stun people by telling them Blue Moon is brewed by Coors.
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  18. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (138) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    There's a reason for that: Only some of property and/or physical assets may be AB-InBev's to sell. From my understanding, the owners who sold the brewery/brands to Interbrew kept the rights to all of the other property surrounding the brewery complex. The following article is vague on whether it's land that the brewery itself sits on or all of the land surrounding it.

    Either way, it makes for some interesting reading, including the fact that AB-InBev had first refusal and declined to purchase the land where Paulaner's 'new' facility now sits on the edge of Munich (in Langwied).

    Here's the same source's piece about the potential sale of the brands:
  19. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (138) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    Even though A-B may be looking to sell Spaten and the other brands, I have to give them kudos for continuing to send (to the Twin Cities at least) regular shipments of 'fresh' Spaten. I just picked up Optimator that was bottled early September! I drink it year round, but it drinks even better with the chilly weather we're now settling into.

    It'll be interesting to see what InBev decides to with the brands. It puts them, and potential buyers in their own difficult positions. As the article points out:

    "Whoever is going to buy the Munich beer brands from AB InBev will either have to build a new brewery within the boundaries of the city of Munich, or lose the rights to serve the beer at the prestigious Oktoberfest which is the oldest and largest beer festival in the world. Even contract brewing in one of the other Munich breweries (Paulaner, Augustiner, Hofbräu München) is probably not possible or very costly and is not advisable since AB InBev's Munich brands, which are already centuries old, would lose their authenticity."
  20. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (349) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    My guess is that they or the buyer will either arrange a new contract for the Spaten brewery grounds or purchase it outright while abandoning the Löwenbräu site, seeing as how they have already discussed moving production from the Löwenbräu brewery and are already packaging the Löwenbräu beers there. If ABInbev are going to be able to sell off their German brands I think a turnkey operation will be imperative, having to build a new brewery to produce stagnant brands will hardly sweeten the deal.
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  21. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (138) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    I agree, but I don't think it's quite that simple. If it were, I think InBev would've already re-negotiated their lease, if they could have. From the same article: "The property still belongs to the former owners of the brewery. Since 2015, 15 years after the purchase of the brewery by Interbrew, the predecessor company of AB InBev, the yearly lease of the property has increased tenfold to EUR 6.5 million (USD 7.5m)." I take my bolded sentence to mean that the property is still owned by Sedlmayr Grund- und Immobilien KGaA.

    So, all of this seems to depend on the Sedlmayr group and their willingness to sell, or draft a new lease agreement for, the Spaten brewery to a brewer (be it InBev or someone else). According to the 2017 article you posted, they wanted to make the Lowenbrau property into apartments. I wouldn't be surprised if they wanted to turn the Spaten brewery grounds into something else too.
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