Friday, May 30, 2008

ABs pride and Coors fried

Every year Fortune magazine comes out with a list of America's most admired companies. Interestingly enough 'ole Anheuser-Busch was ranked number one this year. This list purports to be based upon eight metrics: Innovation, People Management, Use of Corporate Assets, Social Responsibility, Quality of Management, Financial Soundness, Long Term Investment, and Quality of Products and Services.

If you haven't figured it out by now, I've never been a big fan of ABs beers. That is why I was somewhat surprised that they ranked at the tops of the "innovation" list. I suppose it depends on what you consider innovation. If Bud Light Lime is innovation then I guess you've got a winner. But I can tell you what you won't see coming out this year from AB is a Belgian inspired beer, or a beer aged on South American aromatic wood (i.e. Dogfish's Palo Santo Marron). That being said I am not surprised by many of the other metrics. Financially speaking AB I think has always been an attractive investment. I think Warren Buffet would consider them a Wide-Moat investment. As far as quality, I think it depends on how you define quality. But one thing is for sure AB does make a tremendous effort to make sure their beer is consistently the same. I mean if you were able to safely store a canned Budweiser from five years ago, you would probably find that it tastes almost exactly the same as a Budweiser you bought yesterday. That says something about their quality control.

Interesting to note is that Coors listed as the least admired company in the US. Considering that I classify most of their products in the same class as ABs products, I don't know if I could even begin to explain this disparity. I have heard that Pete Coors is an ardent right wing politically inclined individual and I'd have to wonder if that plays into their least admired status. I mean being an outspoken republican isn't exactly "popular" currently. Also the fact that Coors allowed themselves to be bought by a Canadian company (Molson), probably factored into this as well.


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