Anyone who thinks InBev’s buyout of Budweiser represents the end of American beer needs a history lesson, writes Edward McClelland in Salon. Budweiser became the “King of Beers” by killing every other heir to the throne. In 1960, America had 175 traditional, regional breweries, making lagers just like Bud. Anheuser-Busch systematically crushed them all, through its distribution and marketing might.
As of 2005, Budweiser, Miller, and Coors made up 80% of the market. But being the McDonald's of beer has backfired lately. Sales have stagnated. Those wiped-out regional brewers have been replaced with innovative craft breweries, a growing market Bud’s been utterly unable to break into. Stagnating growth meant a stagnating stock, making the company ripe for a takeover. Call it the local brewmeisters’ revenge.