“It’s going to happen:” Officials with local breweries keeping eye on possible “Bud-Miller” merger

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MILWAUKEE -- The latest merger deal between Miller and Budweiser's parent companies has gone flat for now -- but in Milwaukee, a city known for its brew, some with local breweries are keeping a close eye on a potential Bud-Miller deal.

A special flavor was being bottled at the Milwaukee Brewing Company Wednesday, October 7th.

Apricot Saison Booyah,

Apricot Saison Booyah,

"It`s called the Apricot Saison Booyah," Jim McCabe, Milwaukee Brewing Co. president said.

It is non-stop action inside the Walker's Point brewery. McCabe says that's indicative of the overall growth microbreweries are experiencing coast-to-coast.

"Since the beginning of the year --2015 -- until now, we`ve gone from 3,700 breweries to 4,200 in the country," McCabe said.

McCabe says craft beers now make up about 12% of the market, and it's a number that continues to rise. It is also a reason why local companies are keeping an eye on two industry powerhouses: Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller.

MillerCoors

MillerCoors

On Wednesday, Miller rejected, for a third time, a takeover offer from A-B InBev.

"I think the mergers are happening because of the growth in these small breweries," McCabe said.

A-B InBev reportedly offered to buy SABMiller for $64.34 in cash. That puts the value of SABMiller at roughly $104 billion -- a figure the company says still very substantially undervalues it.

"They`re talking and it`s going to happen. It`s a global play. It`s a global industry," McCabe said.

McCabe says when a deal happens, the Miller plant in Milwaukee will likely be safe. Anti-trust laws will likely prevent such a dominant force in the industry.

Budweiser

Budweiser

McCabe predicts Miller will likely be spun off into its own separate entity.

"I think it`s telling of the entire industry. It`s part of the industry we`re in,"  McCabe said.

If the deal goes through, a combined Bud-Miller company would be the world's largest beer maker, with nine of the world's top 20 beers by volume, and annual sales of $55 billion.

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