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Sounds like a conspiracy theory?  Not really.  It's a story about how narrow-sighted management will juice up short-term profits and kill the long-term viability of a company.  More after the orange space-time vortex:

Brian Rinfret likes imported beer from Germany. He sometimes buys Spaten. He enjoys an occasional Bitburger. When he was 25 years old, he discovered Beck’s, a pilsner brewed in the city of Bremen in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot, the German Purity Law of 1516. It said so right on the label. After that, Rinfret was hooked.

One Friday night in January, Rinfret, who is now 52, stopped on the way home from work at his local liquor store in Monroe, N.J., and purchased a 12-pack of Beck’s. When he got home, he opened a bottle. “I was like, what the hell?” he recalls. “It tasted light. It tasted weak. Just, you know, night and day. Bubbly, real fizzy. To me, it wasn’t German beer. It tasted like a Budweiser with flavoring.”
...
 AB InBev may be paying a price for disappointing Beck’s loyalists like him. According to Bump Williams, a beer industry consultant in Stratford, Conn., sales of Beck’s at U.S. food stores were down 14 percent in the four weeks ending Sept. 9 compared with the same period last year. “They are getting their proverbial asses kicked,” Williams says. “Too many customers were turned off when the switch was made.” Sales of Budweiser in the U.S. have fallen recently, too. And yet AB InBev is extraordinarily profitable.

There has never been a beer company like AB InBev. It was created in 2008 when InBev, the Leuven (Belgium)-based owner of Beck’s and Stella Artois, swallowed Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, in a $52 billion hostile takeover. Today, AB InBev is the dominant beer company in the U.S., with 48 percent of the market. It controls 69 percent in Brazil; it’s the second-largest brewer in Russia and the third-largest in China. The company owns more than 200 different beers around the world. It would like to buy more.
...
There’s one hitch. AB InBev’s CEO is a skilled financial engineer, but he has had trouble selling beer. The company’s shipments in the U.S. have declined 8 percent to 98 million barrels from 2008 to 2011, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights. Last year, Coors Light surpassed Budweiser to become America’s No. 2 beer. (Bud Light remains No. 1.) Meanwhile, Brito is alienating lovers of AB InBev’s imports by not importing them. And he’s risking the devotion of American beer lovers by fiddling with the Budweiser recipe in the name of cost-cutting.

http://www.businessweek.com/...

This is a story we've seen many times before, where needle-nosed costcutters only deliver Wall Street value, not Main Street value, as they fill their pockets by selling worse stuff at the same price.  How does buying something less good make anyone's life better, except for top management walking away with a golden parachute?  And these people are taxed too much?  Please.  Their actions are a quality-of-life tax on the rest of America.  At the very least they should pay their fair share.

Originally posted to SCFrog on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 01:45 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos For What Ales Ya.

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