16 September 2006

Grupo Modelo drops Gambrinus

After making Corona the #1 imported beer, the Gambrinus company is being dropped by Grupo Modelo brewing. Modelo makes Corona, Modelo Especial, Negro Modelo, and Pacifico beers.

Carlos Alvarez founded Gambrinus in 1987 and began importing Corona. By 1997, Corona was the #1 imported beer in the United States. Gambrinus also owns Spoetzel Brewing Company in Shiner, Texas; BridgePort Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon; and Pete's Brewing Company.

Grupo Modelo will continue and enhance their association with Barton Beers of Chicago, who will become the only importer of Modelo products. Perhaps not coincidentally, Gambrinus, who supplies 25 states, is experiencing a shortage in shipments from Modelo. Modelo has sent a notice to its distributors citing a supply problem with one of their bottle suppliers. Some parts of New York have been out of Corona Extra for ten days. While the shortages are also being experienced by Barton Beers, Gambrinus, because of its larger share of market, is bearing the brunt of the shortage. In an effort to salvage their earnings, Gambrinus has announced a price increase on Modelo products. Barton Beers has sent a letter to retailers urging them to hold the price line, saying that the price increase is not the result of a Modelo price hike. Meanwhile, American brewers are waiting to see if they will be able to take advantage of the situation to raise their prices as well.

Already, rumors are flying that Gambrinus might be looking to sell its breweries and that SABMiller is interested in purchasing the Spoetzel Brewery. The rumor is that SABMiller would continue to operate the brewery in Shiner as a Texas Brewery for a Texas Beer. However, Miller Brewing (pre-SAB days) bought the Celis Brewery in Austin, Texas, closed the brewery and discontinued the product line, and sold the brand to the Michigan Brewing Company, so I'm taking that promise with a grain of salt.

posted by hiikeeba at 13:04


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