by | Nov 2, 2012 | Trade Data

Whose brew uses hops from Hallertau? Anheuser-Busch, says the BOL trade data

Bloomberg Businessweek’s cover story, The Plot to Destroy America’s Beer, charging that Anheuser-Busch InBev has fiddled with the recipes for Budweiser and Beck’s, has the brewer fuming.

Peter Kraemer, A-B InBev’s North American brewery operations head, has filed a rebuttal in the online publication’s comment section. “We would never ‘tinker’ [as Businessweek suggests] with the recipe of Budweiser (or Beck’s) and any suggestion that we are doing so is simply not true,” he writes. “We have the best-trained and most-qualified brewmasters in the business. Our commitment to quality and strictly maintaining the distinct taste profile of each of our beers is, and always has been, our number-one priority.”

The story also reports that A-B InBev has been cutting its purchases of a key ingredient in Bohemian-style beer, Hallertauer hops – that is, hops grown in the Hallertau area of Bavaria, Germany. A-B InBev’s brewmaster responds that they never compromise on ingredients.

Now, we know that beer requires four ingredients – barley, hops, yeast and water – and that altering any one of them, however slightly, can result in profound changes to the quality of the final product. We’re not qualified to comment on the Plot to Destroy’s claims that you can taste a change in A-B InBev products – we’ll leave that to true aficionados of beer.

What we can report, based on our US import bill-of-lading data, is that A-B InBev is currently the top US importer of hops from Hallertau – see the table below. The detail in the bills of lading specify that the brewer has purchased Hallertau Magnum, Hallertau Herkules, and Hallertau Spalt aroma hops. (But not the Hallertau Mitterfrüh hops that Businessweek says are called for in the Budweiser recipe.)

For the record, next-ranked MillerCoors favors Hallertau Taurus. Boston Beer Company, brewers of Samual Adams, buys Hallertauer Tettnanger.

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