Will Beer Cost More?
Emerson isn't worried about an enormous, predatory monopoly that would spike the price of High Life or Bud, either. In the case of ABI/SABMiller, he explained, "a lot of price pressure [and competition] is not coming from other macro brewers, but rather from other adult beverages like distilled spirits, craft beer, etc."
Because those categories offer a different product that can't be easily undercut, the new ABI/SABMiller corporation's "ability to raise prices [would be] severely limited," he said.
Will The Sale Impact Craft Beer?
"I think in the US craft beer will be largely unaffected by this," guessed Emerson, citing that the specialty market doesn't really compete directly with macros for US shelf space and tap handles (though they do often compete directly with each other). In fact, he said, this may even be a good thing, as any resultant brand consolidation could free up more retail opportunity for the burgeoning craft industry.
Gatza, whose organization represents the country's 4,000 craft brewers and would have every reason to be anxious about negative impacts, was similarly nonplussed.
"I don’t think it will affect market share for craft," he told Thrillist. At most, he speculated that regional brewers (the term for brewers that produce under 6 million barrels a year; Sam Adams, Yuengling, and Sierra Nevada all fit the bill) may feel some ripples.