The Beer World May Appear Diverse But Just Two Brewers Own 210 Different Brands

There you are in Lesotho, enjoying a nice cold Maluti beer and feeling pretty pumped about the Instagram picture you’re totally going to take to show your friends back home how exotic everything is here. But oh, what’s that? It’s just another one of the 210 brands owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller? The beer world is starting to feel a bit smaller, and there’s good reason.

The last 10 years have seen quite a bit of conglomerating, consolidating and otherwise shmushing together of the world’s beers, notes NPR’s Planet Money (with a super cool beer map graphic you should check out). The two king companies and others have spent about $195 billion buying up brewers from all around the world.

Maybe you didn’t notice, either because you’ve had your face buried in foam or because most of the time, companies don’t crow about their beer acquisitions and instead keep the familiar brand names exactly as they were.

The reality is Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller own over 200 brands based in 42 countries— 18 of which are right here in the U.S.

This world-suds-domination plan has come to light in the media more recently, as Anheuser-Busch InBev is currently trying to gobble up the world’s seventh largest brewer, Grupo Modelo. If it does, it’ll control 46% of the beer market in the U.S. That’s why the Department of Justice’s anti-trust alarm bells have been ringing.

So take a closer look at that exotic vacation brew before you apply a Lo-Fi filter and note its uniqueness. Its daddy could very well be a super huge corporate entity, but at least it still tastes good. If it doesn’t, stop drinking it.

Beer Map: Two Giant Brewers, 210 Brands [NPR Planet Money]