The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK ( InvestorPlace) -- Do people drink less beer during periods of slow economic growth so they can save money, or do they drink more to drown their sorrows? The great thing about this question is that there are two publicly traded companies -- Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) and Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP) -- whose earnings we can analyze to gain insight into this question. And here's another: Should you invest in either company?
Beer is big business. According to First Research, the U.S. industry includes 400 brewers that account for $20 billion in annual sales. But it's a highly concentrated market, with eight companies controlling 90% of the sales. Among these, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser brands) and MillerCoors (a joint venture between Molson Coors and SAB Miller, which features the Miller and Coors brands) are the biggest.
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