Coors, Miller team to fight Budweiser on beer-market battlefield

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Colorado-based MolsonCoors and SAB Miller PLC, the brewer of Miller Lite, said they will combine their U.S. brewing operations in an effort to compete against industry leader Anheuser-Busch.

The joint venture will be known as MillerCoors and will have responsibility for brewing and selling brands including Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, Coors, Coors Light and Molson Canadian in the U.S.

Anheuser-Busch accounts for about half of the U.S. market with brands Budweiser, Michelob and Bud Light.

Anheuser-Busch operates a brewery near Fort Collins.

SABMiller PLC will have a 58 percent economic interest in the venture and MolsonCoors Brewing Co. will own 42 percent of the new company.

The joint venture will also result in cost savings of $500 million, the companies said.

That savings will mainly come from reducing shipping distances, finding economies of scale in brewing operations, optimizing production and eliminating duplicate corporate and marketing services. It is unknown whether any of MolsonCoors’ Colorado brewing facilities will be affected.

Pete Coors, vice chairman of Molson Coors, will serve as chairman of the new company and Molson Coors Chief Executive Leo Kiely will be the new CEO of the joint venture.

The companies project MillerCoors will have combined annual beer sales of 69 million U.S. barrels with revenue of about $6.6 billion.