The Global Branding of Interbrew and Stella Artois

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The Global Branding of Interbrew and Stella Artois

One of the largest brewers in the world, Interbrew grew rapidly in the 1990s from its home market in Belgium to a global presence in markets around the world. As this essay will demonstrate, Interbrew 's global strategy of consolidation and market penetration has been balanced between a respect for local autonomy and beer culture with efforts to adapt the flagship brand of Stella Artois to these cultures. The global beer industry is highly fragmented, with the four major brewers accounting for only 22 percent of the global beer trade; a number that is strikingly low in comparison to comparable numbers of 78 percent in the soft drink industry, 60 percent in the tobacco industry, and
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The creation of the Oland Speciality Beer Company within Labatt, for example, allowed Interbrew to increase sales of Alexander Keith 's brand and the John Labatt Classic Brand by playing upon the "richness, mystique and heritage of beer" in the Canadian market (Beamish and Goerzen 9). It is interesting to note, however, that this strategy was only successful in Canada. In Belgium Interbrew 's flagship brand Stella Artois has been suffering from declining sales for years due to the public perception of its as being "old-fashioned". Thus, precisely the same quality has diametrically opposed market sale consequences in North America and Belgium given the nature of local culture. As noted above, a key element of Interbrew 's global strategy has been to acquire brewers and established brands in areas with significant growth potential, and then allow the company administrators in that country considerable autonomy in the marketing of their brands locally. Thus, for example, Interbrew purchased two breweries in Nanjing, China, and through these purchases acquired their locally popular brands Yali and Jingling. This made Interbrew the dominant market player in this large Chinese city, with possibility to serve as a platform for expansion (Beamish and Goerzen 8). However, while respecting the business success of existing brands and local

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