Business, Central New York

Anheuser-Miller Merger Impacts Local Breweries

With the biggest beer merger on record in the works, Andrew Scaglione investigates the impact on local craft breweries.

Micro vs Macro Breweries

By Andrew Scaglione┬áSYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – The deadline for the Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller merger is Wednesday. If a deal is reached, the two would combine to form the largest brewer in the world.

In the world of brewing, Anheuser and Miller are referred to as ‘macrobreweries’. These are constantly competing against smaller beer producers known as ‘microbreweries’. Syracuse is a growing market for smaller breweries. There is an established presence of local favorites like Empire Brewing Company and Middle Ages Brewing Company, along with a budding community of newer breweries like Local 315.

Local Breweries Remain Confident

Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association Paul Leone believes that, “microbreweries are not too concerned with the merger. Where the concern comes in is on the distribution side of things.”

Since merger will allow easier distribution for the already large companies, craft breweries might have a harder time getting on shelves and in restaurants.

Leone went on to explain how craft beer sales still only represent 11% of all beer sales in the United States. Thus, 89% of sales still come from national brands like Budweiser and Miller. One of the challenges for craft beers is appealing to college students, especially in a city like Syracuse. Josh Mersfelder is the head brewer at Local 315, which just opened up two weeks ago.

Mersfelder said, “Students who want craft beer will pay a little more for it. It’s been nice as a new brewery to be able to gain knowledge from already established breweries in the area.”

Leone finished by saying, “The collaboration between small breweries allows the market to rise together.”

A total of seven new breweries are slated to open over the next few months in Central New York.