Top four brewers make up half global beer market

LONDON Mon Feb 8, 2010 4:51pm GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - The world's four biggest brewers now account for over half the global market for beer after recent deals such as Dutch brewer Heineken's takeover of Mexico's FEMSA, researcher Plato Logic said on Monday.

Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, London-listed SABMiller , Heineken, and Denmark's Carlsberg have moved ahead of the rest of the pack led by China's Tsingtao Brewery in fifth place.

"The new Big 4 have established a clear lead, with combined market share estimated at just over 50 percent (pro forma 2009)," Plato said.

Budweiser-brewer AB-InBev had beer volumes of around 350 million hectolitres in 2009, well ahead of Miller-brewer SABMiller at just under 250 million, Heineken at just over 200 million, and Carlsberg around 125 million, while Tsingtao trailed at just over 50 million hectolitres a year.

In sixth place was North American Molson-Coors Brewing Co, while Mexico's Grupo Modelo, China's Beijing Yanjing Brewery Co Ltd and Japanese brewers Kirin Holdings Co Ltd and Asahi Breweries Ltd made up the rest of the top 10.

Plato said the world beer market grew less than 0.1 percent in 2009, but expected it to pick up in 2010 to growth of about 3 percent.

"While this may appear quite optimistic, we would expect growth to resume in some emerging markets," Plato director Ian Pressnell said.

(Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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