Anheuser-Busch’s boss failed to understand that by the 1990s the financial wonks had seized power from the marketers. This left the company prey to hungrier firms — like Jorge Paulo Lemann’s 3G Capital To understand how Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) ended up as the most powerful beer company in the world, you need to go back to the 1970s — a heady time when marketing departments ruled beer companies.Back then, if you did right by the marketing wonks, you could conquer the globe or whatever parts of it you wanted. Anheuser-Busch’s CEO at the time, August Busch III, was living proof of that.After wresting control of Anheuser-Busch from his father in 1975, he poured billions into an exquisitely executed advertising campaign that transformed the mediocre beer that is Budweiser into the King of Beers.Its market share tripled, as August III (known deferentially as "The Third") created an iconic brand that boasted almost 50% of the most valuable beer market in the world — the US — by the...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now