Budweiser and Miller Lite may merge to become the biggest suds dealer on the planet

Budweiser and Miller Lite may merge to become the biggest suds dealer on the planet

WBEZ brings you fact-based news and information. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the stories that matter.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the maker of Budweiser, is in talks to buy SABMiller, owner of Miller Lite. Their merger would create the biggest beer company on earth. And that might have an impact on the beer you drink.

Seriously. The impact is huge.

“It’s a really global acquisition with a really global reach,” says beer writer Sean Lewis. “I think it’s about 1/3 of the entire brands on the market.”

Lewis is the author of the book, “We Make Beer: Inside the Spirit and Artistry of America’s Craft Brewers.”

I mention his book because one of the breweries owned by ABInBev is Goose Island, a craft brewery out of Chicago. It’s truly astonishing to see just how much beer this company could control.

Goose Island Beer Company's limited Black Friday release of Bourbon County Brand Stout in Chicago. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision for Goose Island Beer Company/AP Images)

There’s a brand in every continent. “Just look at AB-INBev,” he says. “It’s an American company with Belgian roots and Brazilian ownership. It’s truly a global deal.”

The merger makes sense to Lewis. All companies want to grow. “It seems to me that a brewery grows to a certain extent to where it can’t continue saturating the market with more of one particular brand. So it acquires another. And it acquires another and another and it continues to go on. It’s the desire that all corporations and companies desire, which is more profit.”

But that desire to grow could impact your stroll down the beer aisle.

“Along with owning the production means, a lot of these breweries own the distribution means. So their ability to limit what beer reaches what market could play a major function. I’m not saying it will. But the potential is there.”

PRI’s The World