Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) really wants you to believe that the only way to get something more American into a beer can is to brew it with grain grown on the battlefields at Lexington and Concord and water piped from the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall.
The company spent more than $1 billion on its NFL sponsorship alone and has plowed $239 million more into Super Bowl ads over the past decade. Its Clydesdales are American commercial icons and Budweiser's red, white and blue cans send a not-so-subtle message that despite the brewery's German roots, it's American to the last drop.
That facade came crashing down in 2008, when Brazilian-Belgian brewing company InBev took over Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion. Though the company still has a dozen breweries in the U.S., there have been a whole lot of layoffs stateside in an attempt to make the brewer a leaner, more cosmopolitan international player.Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob are still feature players in the stable, but now they're sharing shelf space with brewery mates such as Boddington's, Lowenbrau, Hoegaarden, Spaten and Labatt. Bud's not even the brewer's only big gun anymore, as it made clear by airing a Stella Artois ad featuring Adrien Brody during the Super Bowl a few years ago. It still throws around that "King of Beers" title here in the states, but its recent relegation to third place among U.S. beer brands indicates that crown is slipping. Don't blame Bud for talking tough and acting aggressively on football Sundays; when the game's over, it goes home to multinational masters that consider it their American Beck's.
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