Worst Company In America Round 1: EA Vs. Anheuser-Busch InBev

It’s Monday afternoon, so what better way to commemorate the joy of being back to work than with a WCIA battle between two companies intent on ruining your good times.

Electronic Arts came out of nowhere last year to take home the Golden Poo for Worst Company In America, and though the video game golem had promised it would improve, there are a lot of customers out there who would disagree. Just ask the throng of people who shelled out money for the wildly popular new SimCity game, only to find they couldn’t play because EA hadn’t fully thought out the always-online requirement that it spent so much time building into the game but swears is not a crippling form of DRM.

This comes on the heels of EA having to eat its words about packing all of its upcoming games with in-game microtransactions aimed to nickel-and-dime consumers who had already paid a hefty price for their games.

And of course, in the middle of the Worst Company In America tournament, EA’s despised-by-gamers CEO John Riccitiello announced he was stepping down, probably not because he was doing such a great job.

Maybe Mr. Riccitiello will toast his departure with one of the many, many, many — did we say many? — beer brands run by the not-at-all awkwardly named Anheuser-Busch InBev, a Brazilian-American-Belgian beer Voltron that is not only the largest beer company in the world, but controls about 25% of the suds market.

Here is just a sampling of the brands controlled, at least in part, by this beverage behemoth:

Right now, A-B InBev only owns a 50% stake of the Grupo Modelo beers — Corona, Pacifico, Modelo, Victoria, Estrella — but it’s been attempting to buy the remaining half for the better part of a year. In January, the Justice Dept. sued to stop the deal, fearing that it would greatly reduce competition and effectively leave the U.S. market with only two large beer companies — A-B InBev and SAB Miller — responsible for more than 200 brands.

Even if the Modelo deal falls through, A-B will likely continue on trying to buy up every independent company that becomes mildly successful. In recent years, it’s purchased Chicago fave Goose Island and owns around one-third of the Craft Brewers Alliance, which includes brands like Red Hook and Widmer Bros.

Now that everyone’s buzz is killed, it’s time to vote.


This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2013 series. The companies competing for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. See the entire WCIA 2013 bracket HERE.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.