With Isenbeck Acquisition, SABMiller Takes A Dive Into Argentina Beer Pool

Patrick Archer competitiveness, foreign investment, lifestyle

Yesterday the world’s number two brewer, SABMiller, announced the purchase of Argentina’s number three brewer, CASA Isenbeck, in a deal valued at US$43 billion.

In addition to the Isenbeck and Warsteiner brands, the purchase gives SABMiller its own plant in Argentina with 300 employees and a distribution center in Chacarita.

Drinks Business Review says CASA Isenbeck will continue to produce and distribute the Warsteiner brand under a long-term licence agreement. “CASA Isenbeck gives us exposure to the fast-growing and attractive Argentinian beer market and complements our existing Latin American operations,” said Larry Miller, president of SAB Miller Latin America.

Those “existing operations” include a sizable portfolio of 30 well-known LatAm brands including Aguila and Pilsen (Colombia), Cusquena (Peru), SalvaVida (Honduras) and Pilsener (Ecuador).

According to Clari­n, Isenbeck’s share of the Argentina beer market is 7%, while InBev-owned Quilmes still dominates with 75%. In terms of strategy, BA business insider d:biz says once established, SABMiller will possibly launch other global brands like Miller, Bass Ale and Pilsener Urquell here in Argentina. The company has taken a similar approach in other South American countries like Colombia where Peroni is now one of the best-selling brands in upscale restaurants and clubs.

As InvestBA reported on Monday, if SABMiller is looking to introduce more premium brands into Argentina, the timing could not be better. And watch for BA beer advertising to get a little steamier: Isenbeck has always featured creative campaigns, while Miller was behind the original Super Bowl catfight and their Colombia ads seem to feature more bikinis than bottles.