Fosters heads offshore

The coming acquisition of Foster’s by London-based SAB Miller, two years after Japan’s Kirin acquired Lion Nathan, will put the vast majority of Australia’s brewing capacity in foreign hands.

In the short term this should mean little noticeable change for Australian drinkers. But it does open the way for SAB Miller to expand distribution of its international brands in Australia and to brew larger volumes of them in Australia.

The Foster’s deal will also trigger SAB Miller’s purchase of Coca Cola Amatil’s stake in their jointly owned Pacific Beverages – including the 50-million-litre capacity Bluetongue Brewery at Warnervale, New South Wales. Coca Cola Amatil, in turn, will have the right to buy all or some of Foster’s spirits and RTD brands.

The change will leave Adelaide’s Coopers, with just a few percent market share, as the largest Australian-owned brewer.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 12 October 2011 in The Canberra Times