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Keeping global beer biz in the heartland

The corporate logo of InBev at the InBev Brewery in Leuven, Belgium.

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: It's been nearly a year and a half since Belgian beer giant InBev bought St. Louis-based Anheuser Busch. The new conglomerate says the company's North American headquarters will stay in St. Louis. That's despite many of the firm's top brass operating in New York. From St. Louis Public Radio, reporter Adam Allington reports.


Adam Allington: Scarcely five months after purchasing office space in Manhattan, AB-InBev has already relocated a sizeable chunk of its top management, including company CEO Carlos Britto as well as his CFO and top sales and marketing executives.

Industry analysts like Tom Pirko of Bevmark Consulting say it's hard to deny that a place like New York fits much better with the global ambitions of the company.

Tom Pirko: This is not about St. Louis, it's not about New York. It's really about redefining a culture. You have this heartland American tie, and that's really hard to give up, but at the same token, this is a business that is owned by Belgians and run by Brazilians and it is an international business.

Anheuser Busch still controls about half of the U.S. beer market, a figure which translates to about 40 percent of AB-InBev's global sales. Given that fact, company executives say St. Louis remains a perfect fit for their North American strategy.

In St. Louis, I'm Adam Allington for Marketplace.

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