This case examines the early stages of Interbrew’s expansion and shift from localized production and branding to globally branding their Stella Artois. Interbrew developed into the world’s fourth largest brewer by acquiring and managing a large portfolio of national and regional beer brands in markets around the world. More recently, senior management decided to develop one of their premium beers, Stella Artois, as a global brand. In this case, the early stages of Interbrew's global branding strategy and tactics are examined.
This case addresses Interbrew’s expansion and shift from localized production and branding to globally branding their Stella Artois brand and how they were able to accomplish this and difficulties they had to overcome. Interbrew is currently the 4th largest brewer in the world, with approximately 90% of its volume coming from markets outside its host country of Belgium. It is a privately owned company and headquartered in Belgium. They have subsidiaries and joint ventures in 23 countries across 4 different continents.
The original brewery, which later became Interbrew, was Den Hoorn and dated back to 1366. Den Hoorn then purchased its master brewer, Sebastiaan Artois in 1717. Artois then began an expansion campaign by acquiring other major breweries. They began by purchasing interest in Leffe Brewery in Belgium in 1954, acquiring Bommelsch Brewery in Netherland in 1968 and acquiring Brassiere du Nord in France in 1970. Artois then merged with Piedboeuf of Belgian and formed what’s now known as Interbrew.
In 1990, the beer market was growing at an annual rate of 2%. By 1998, beer consumption reached 1.3 hectoliters (hls), but there were great differences in market size and growth. Also, the market was split into two markets: Mature and Growth markets. The mature market consisted of the following markets: North American, Western European, Australian, New Zealand and Czech Republic....