AB InBev’s story is a masterclass of global brand consolidation. Perhaps you don’t know their name, but you’d be lying if you said you haven’t seen their products. The company produces and sells more than 500 brands worldwide, most of which are beers. Its entire history of mergers and acquisitions is hard to cover, but the 4 mentioned on our chart are the most significant on its quest for global domination.
Our research shows that the company’s Latin American division is its most significant. On our chart, you can see its massive volume growth and in 2020, it accounted for more than half of the company’s sales volume (volume, in this case, is actual liters of beer sold).
The company was officially born with the merger of Brazilian Ambev and Belgian Interbrew in 2004. Both companies were already huge in their territories, with smaller past acquisitions of local beer brands. Ambev is still publicly traded independently and is Brazil’s 5th largest company. AB InBev’s next target for growth in the region was the historic acquisition of Mexico’s biggest beer company, Grupo Modelo, for $20.1B in 2012. Since then, the yearly volume has increased 35%, and it sold 27 billion liters of beers in the continent in 2020.
Earnings data suggests that the company’s consolidation of North American brands hasn’t paid off quite as well. Since the merger with Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light’s makers), which put the “AB” in AB InBev, its yearly North American revenues have barely grown, and its volume has decreased 20%.
AB InBev’s crowning jewel as the world’s largest beer maker happened in 2016 when it merged with SAB Miller (Miller Lite’s makers); the deal was worth $100B.