In the mood for a brew? Be forewarned, a cold one could cost you. Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors have both announced plans to hike beer prices. Falling sales and higher costs of commodities like barley and hops have forced them to compensate by raising prices. In a statement Tuesday, US-Belgian company Anheuser-Busch InBev said it will raise stickers "across different price tiers" in "a majority of markets this Fall" to cover "input costs." Likewise, InBev's biggest competitor, MillerCoors, intends to increase prices this season. Higher prices from the two conglomerates — which together comprise more than 80 percent of the market — will impact the beer industry during a time when beer drinkers are reaching for the cheapest selections.
In a New York Times commentary, "Rising Beer Prices Hint at Oligopoly," the op-ed's writers lament that the two companies' abilities to raise prices while customers are hurting "highlights the pricing power that has accompanied industry consolidation" and "begs for an antitrust review."
Anheuser-Busch isn't stopping there. The beer overlord has aggressive plans to transform Budweiser into a global player, using Coca-Cola as a marketing model. The corporation hopes to introduce the "King of Beers" into dozens of new markets, including parts of Africa. Have you noticed rising beer prices? Could Budweiser eventually become an international symbol like Coke? Should Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors face antitrust allegations?