As the big Anheuser-Busch merger with SABMiller slowly gets finalized, one of the primary questions remains, how will combining the two largest breweries in the world affect the beer market? To help satisfy American regulators, the new beer behemoth has offered to sell its Miller brands to Molson Coors so that Anheuser-Busch brands and Miller brands won’t be owned by the same company.
One fear regulators have is that if all these brands have a single owner, it could drive up prices, and as the Washington Post’s Wonkblog points out, there may be good reason to worry – because it appears its happened before.
The last major merger to happen in the US market was when SABMiller and Molson Coors created a joint venture known as MillerCoors in 2008. In an extremely revealing chart, you can see that the prices of the big three light beers – Bud, Coors and Miller – which had actually been declining in price over the previous eight years, suddenly jumped back up after that agreement. Comparatively, two other beer brands, Corona and Heineken, continued on their previous rates of decline.