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Old 05-29-2006, 09:53 AM   #1
BrooklynQ's Avatar
Join Date: 07-18-04
Default The King of Beers is now King of the Rock - (2 Long for Joe)

This One's for Them: Anheuser-Busch Buys Rolling Rock

May 19, 2006

CHICAGO -- Anheuser-Busch has completed the long-rumored purchase of the Rolling Rock brand from InBev USA for $82 million, both companies announced today.

The deal does not include the Latrobe Brewing Co. in Pennsylvania, which InBev intends to sell separately. The No. 1 brewer acquires the Rolling Rock brand, recipes and will begin brewing Rolling Rock and Rock Green Light in its own plants starting in August.

"We have an ideal opportunity to grow this historic brand," August Busch IV, A-B president, said in a written statement. "This beer is not like others, and its consumer following is equally distinctive. We live in a diverse world where consumers are hungry for variety. Acquiring Rolling Rock enables us to reach a new audience and to continue building our broad portfolio of products that meet the wide-ranging needs of consumers."

InBev president Doug Corbett said the company sold Rolling Rock because it is focusing on its roster of import brands. The Norwalk, Conn., arm of the Belgian company this year relaunched Bass by casting it as the world's first pale ale, and sold more than one million cases of Beck's Premier Light less than a year after its March 2005 debut. Other imports include Stella Artois, Hogaarden and Leffe from Belgium, Brazil's Brahma and Canada's Labatt Blue and Labatt Blue Light. InBev is expected to appoint a new marketing chief for European brands after Victor Melendez left to work as vp-product innovations for PepsiCo this month.

A-B will have to work out the transfer of its new brand from Rolling Rock's existing wholesaler network to A-B distributors. Also recently added to the A-B distribution network were Dutch import Grolsch and Tiger from Singapore.

The brewer also is courting craft brewers with equity and distribution proposals in a bid to participate in the fastest growing segment of the beer category. Midwest wholesalers told Brandweek during March that they would be distributing product from Chicago microbrewer Goose Island. The Chicago Tribune cited unnamed sources Thursday in a report claiming that A-B is buying a minority stake in Goose Island.

Rolling Rock has only been made in the glass-lined tanks of the little Latrobe brewing company, which opened its doors in western Pennsylvania in 1983. The green bottle, the horse's head, steeple and the mysterious number 33 are longtime brand icons. Rolling Rock started as a regional brew before going national in the late 1980s against well-heeled mass-market brands like Budweiser and Miller Genuine Draft.

--Mike Beirne
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Old 05-29-2006, 12:49 PM   #2
is One Chatty Farker
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Join Date: 01-27-05
Location: Lakeland, FL

So I wonder if this means another one bites the dust? Or, will A-B still brew it the way it was brewed at Latrobe?

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Old 05-29-2006, 12:53 PM   #3
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Join Date: 01-16-06
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Perfect length Robert. I also like a "rock" now and again. I hope they don't ruin it.
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