With 2016 coming to an end, most Dutch lager breweries announced an increase in their beer prices – for the hospitality industry. None of the brewers seem to have adjusted their prices for the supermarkets. Although there is NO existence of a cartel, it remains remarkable how all these individual companies make their price calculations: all increased the purchase price of a liter of lager with 2.5% to 3.7%. Grolsch kept it at 2.5%, and with 3.7% Heineken took the largest increase. Smaller breweries sat obediently between these percentages. Only AB InBev seemed to be happy with going just a little more than one percent up. The Brewers all claimed higher raw material prices and higher wages being the cause.
So it seemed but then AB InBev – the world’s largest brewing company, especially since the takeover of SAB Miller; of every 10 beers sold world-wide slightly more than three now come from AB InBev – announced on January 3, 2017 another price increase, now at 3.1% up to 3.9%. In total, some business owners saw their beer price go up more than 5% – in a year, while in recent years beer prices have gone up tens of percents.
For the hospitality industry.
For the supermarkets it isn’t all that bad.
All joking aside, I’m not winding myself up about the increased beer prices for the hospitality industry as such, and I cast all the suggestions that there could be a cartel within the larger beer producers in the Netherlands far from me. It is the same nonsense as claiming the existence of the Loch Ness monster or the suggestion that athletes use doping.
No, where I get wound up about is on the appalling arrogance that AB InBev exhibits in their communication about this. “To our great regret, we have to conclude that an incomplete calculation of the price adjustment we have communicated to you earlier is a fact.” Do they think the hospitality businesses collectively consists of morons? That they say, “Ooooooo! An incomplete calculation! Well, it can happen, happens to us sometimes too. Bring on the percentages! “
AB InBev is not a brewery: it is, first and foremost, a bunch of incredibly smart and ultra-ambitious accountants, venture capitalists, bankers and other financial leeches, unscrupulously pursuing total world domination – not of beer, which is only a way and a means, but financial and power based. Here are the smartest and most hard-boiled financial experts – and they would have made an ‘incomplete calculation’ per mistake?
Just as Beijing is located in Denmark.
No, AB InBev writes, just to use a nice hospitality industry term, with the fork. In their statement, AB InBev announced more notable reasons for their price increases. There needs to be a correction because of earlier unforeseen ‘ambitious plans to work with you to achieve growth in the Dutch market.” Before you jump up and down in joy: what could be included in these ambitious plans? Investments? Innovation? No: pay back.
The ambitious plans are mainly in finding as much money as possible for Carlos Brito and his fellow financial gluttons to be able to pay them their bonuses, and to pay back the money they borrowed from banks, venture capitalists and other lenders as soon as possible for the takeover of SAB Miller, then on to the next one. Furthermore AB InBev will bring with accelerated pace beers formerly brewed by small craft breweries to our markets – for example Goose Island, which was once highly regarded but which many beer lovers now say the quality and taste have dramatically declined. The ambition of AB InBev has for years been going no further than their own pockets – and we are only here to fill them.
In short, the customers of AB InBev, especially those in the on-trade, are expected to fund the ‘ambitious growth plans”, also known as “growth and acquisition plans designed by a maniacal and bonus-hungry management”. I would think about this the next time you are considering to buy a beer.