The building of a beer behemoth
SAB, at 125 years, is one of the oldest companies in SA, but that’s young compared to some of its new stablemates
SAB, at 125 years, is one of the oldest companies in SA, but that’s young compared to some of its new stablemates. AB InBev brags that its Leffe brand traces its roots to the 13th century, when medieval monks began brewing it in what is now Belgium. Another Belgian brand, Stella Artois, also traces its roots back more than 600 years, to the Brouwerij Artois in Leuven. By comparison, the US’s Anheuser-Busch, which started brewing Budweiser in St Louis, Missouri, is a youthful 140. But it was only in the past three decades that the consolidation started that would lead to the formation of the world’s largest brewer. First, in 1988, two brewers in Belgium — Brouwerij Artois and Piedboeuf — merged to form Interbrew. Seven years later the Belgian company acquired Canada’s Labatt, nearly doubling its size. Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere, Brazilian brewer Brahma was being restructured and in 1999 merged with another Brazilian company, Antarctica, to form Companhia de Bebidas das Amé...