|Big Guys Are Really Big
Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller,
Heineken, and Carlsberg together
produce about half of the world's beer.
This enormous market stake comes after
15 years of what the analysts cal
l "massive industry consolidation."
The consolidation has been quite fast.
In 2004 the industry's top 10 brewers
controlled 51% of the market volume.
By 2014, 47% of the market was held
by just 4 companies.
In other words, the top 4 companies
today control nearly as much market
volume as the top 10 companies did
just a decade ago.
Overall these 4 companies control
about 74%, of the industry's $33 billion
Chile Gets Real Duff First
For decades, real beer sellers from Australia to Germany to Colombia have been trying to
capitalize on all this fake marketing by putting real versions of Duff Beer into the market—
only to be shut down after hearing from lawyers for “Simpsons” owner 21st Century Fox.
Duff, the Simpsons-inspired beverage is expected to arrive in Europe and South America
later this year following its Chilean launch. For thirsty American fans, Duff Beer is currently
available at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Orlando, marketed near the
shows' rides and attractions. The introduction of drinkable Duff Beer comes as the cast
and crew of The Simpsons prepare for the beloved show's 27th season.
Scheduled to hit airwaves on Sept 27, the new season continues The Simpsons'
foothold asthe longest-running American sitcom.
But why launch in Chile first? It was a case of, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Fox has
been fighting the rise of unauthorized versions of the brew in the Chilean market,
and has had some success. The company filed an intellectual property complaint that
led Chilean police to seize contraband bottles by the tens of thousands.
Most legal experts who have followed the Duff Beer intellectual property disputes
believes that Fox has been essentially forced into the beer business by intellectual
property laws that don’t generally protect fictional products. Their belief is that because the
product did not in fact exist, Fox cannot claim a trademark on it. So by putting the beer on the
market puts Fox will be on stronger legal footing.
Fox is walking a fine line when it comes to associating the beer with the show.
In addition to selling Duff in theme parks. Fox last year made a deal with Australian grocery
giant Woolworths to license the beer. But the effort was shut down within a few months
after an advocacy group filed a complaint saying the association of the beer with the
popular cartoon would encourage underage drinking.
In Fox's defense BeerNexus would like to point out that the show isn’t totally devoid of
warnings against underage drinking such as this: “Now, son, you don’t want to drink beer,”
Homer does tell Bart in one episode. “That’s for daddies—and kids with fake IDs.”
the crossroads of the beer world
The craft beer industry is on high alert as
blistering heat is hitting key growing areas
in the U.S. and Europe, threatening this
year's hop harvest.
The state of Washington's Yakima Valley,
the top producer of "aroma" hops used to
flavor craft beers, experienced sustained
temperatures above 100F over the past
month. Germany and Slovenia, which are
also large hop growers, have also been
hit by hot weather.
Overall acreage for hops in the U.S. north-west
rose 16 percent this year from 2014, with the
aroma acreage jumping 26 percent, according
to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The hot
temperatures could affect the expanded areas,
say some experts. There is a concern that
the young plants will not produce yields,
and owners of the expanded acreage may
not have access to water.