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.
By Peter Cohan
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.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV