Business

A tear in their beer if sale happens

This Bud's for you, but soon it may be from the Belgians.

With foreign ownership of Anheuser-Busch Cos. a real possibility, beer drinkers may have to choose between their patriotism and their Budweiser.

“It would be like selling off an American pastime,” said Rebekah Dye, a bartender at Morehead Street Tavern. “That would just blow my mind. Bud is just as American as baseball.”

Belgian-based InBev NV, the maker of Stella Artois and Bass beers, made an unsolicited cash offer of $46.3 billion for the St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch on Wednesday.

Anheuser-Busch has yet to decide on the offer, although the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the company might be trying to thwart a deal by talking with Mexico's Grupo Modelo SAB about a merger. Anheuser Busch already owns roughly 50 percent in Modelo, Mexico's largest brewer and maker of Corona.

Local beer drinkers and bartenders around town on Thursday were surprised to hear that the American icon could come under foreign ownership.

Jordan Arwod, a bartender at Morehead Street Tavern, said Anheuser-Busch products are big sellers at the bar, led by Bud Light.

“Bud has been the king of American beers since forever,” Arwod said. “I think it's going to make a lot of people mad.”

Dye, a Bud drinker, said she would consider switching to one of Anheuser-Busch's competitors if the sale were to go through.

“It's bad enough the economy is going the way it is, now we have to worry about American staples being sold overseas, too,” Dye said.

Analysts said jumps in both Anheuser-Busch and InBev stocks Thursday indicated that investors thought that the deal was likely to succeed. Anheuser-Busch stocks closed at $61.40, up 5 percent and InBev closed at 50.21 euro, up 6 percent.

The deal will depend on approval from Anheuser-Busch shareholders, including Busch family members.

Consolidation has been the trend in the beer industry, where U.S. sales have stagnated. South African Breweries PLC purchased Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Co. in 2002 to create SABMiller PLC.

It seems reaction to the sale depends on beer preference.

“At this point it's all business and the Belgians really know how to make beer,” said Bill Weise, while drinking an afternoon Coors Light at Thomas Street Tavern. “As long as it's going to be the same price, I don't think it's really going to matter.”

Jake Johnson, who said he is not a Budweiser drinker, recommended InBev stick with the same recipe if the deal were to succeed.

“I think Bud drinkers are going to drink Bud as long as it tastes like Bud,” he said. “I think people are pretty loyal to their beers.”

Others see it as being loyal to their country.

Web sites were created within hours of the offer, including www.savebudweiser.com, which tells visitors to “band together as one voice and try to save more than just our beer.”

This Bud's for you, but soon it may be from the Belgians.

With foreign ownership of Anheuser-Busch Cos. a real possibility, beer drinkers may have to choose between their patriotism and their Budweiser.

“It would be like selling off an American pastime,” said Rebekah Dye, a bartender at Morehead Street Tavern. “That would just blow my mind. Bud is just as American as baseball.”

Belgian-based InBev NV, the maker of Stella Artois and Bass beers, made an unsolicited cash offer of $46.3 billion for the St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch on Wednesday.

Anheuser-Busch has yet to decide on the offer, although the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the company might be trying to thwart a deal by talking with Mexico's Grupo Modelo SAB about a merger. Anheuser Busch already owns roughly 50 percent in Modelo, Mexico's largest brewer and maker of Corona.

Local beer drinkers and bartenders around town on Thursday were surprised to hear that the American icon could come under foreign ownership.

Jordan Arwod, a bartender at Morehead Street Tavern, said Anheuser-Busch products are big sellers at the bar, led by Bud Light.

“Bud has been the king of American beers since forever,” Arwod said. “I think it's going to make a lot of people mad.”

Dye, a Bud drinker, said she would consider switching to one of Anheuser-Busch's competitors if the sale were to go through.

“It's bad enough the economy is going the way it is, now we have to worry about American staples being sold overseas, too,” Dye said.

Analysts said jumps in both Anheuser-Busch and InBev stocks Thursday indicated that investors thought that the deal was likely to succeed. Anheuser-Busch stocks closed at $61.40, up 5 percent and InBev closed at 50.21 euro, up 6 percent.

The deal will depend on approval from Anheuser-Busch shareholders, including Busch family members.

Consolidation has been the trend in the beer industry, where U.S. sales have stagnated. South African Breweries PLC purchased Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Co. in 2002 to create SABMiller PLC.

It seems reaction to the sale depends on beer preference.

“At this point it's all business and the Belgians really know how to make beer,” said Bill Weise, while drinking an afternoon Coors Light at Thomas Street Tavern. “As long as it's going to be the same price, I don't think it's really going to matter.”

Jake Johnson, who said he is not a Budweiser drinker, recommended InBev stick with the same recipe if the deal were to succeed.

“I think Bud drinkers are going to drink Bud as long as it tastes like Bud,” he said. “I think people are pretty loyal to their beers.”

Others see it as being loyal to their country.

Web sites were created within hours of the offer, including www.savebudweiser.com, which tells visitors to “band together as one voice and try to save more than just our beer.”

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