Becoming the World's Biggest Brewer: Artois, Piedboeuf, and Interbrew (1880-2000)

ISBN : 9780198829089

Kenneth Bertrams; Julien Del Marmol; Sander Geerts; Eline Poelmans
416 ページ
156 x 234 mm

AB InBev is today's uncontested world leader of the beer market. It represents over 20% of global beer sales, with more than 450 million hectolitre a year flowing all around the world. Its Belgian predecessor, Interbrew, was a success story stemming from the 1971 secret merger of the country's two leading brewers: Artois and Piedboeuf. Based on material originating from company and private archives as well as interviews with managers and key family actors, this is the first study to explore the history of the company through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The story starts in the mid-nineteenth century with the scientific breakthroughs that revolutionised the beer industry and allowed both Artois and Piedboeuf to prosper in a local environment. Instrumental in this respect were the respective families and their successive heirs in stabilizing and developing their firms. Despite the intense difficulties of two world wars in the decades to follow, they emerged stronger than ever and through the 1960s became undisputed leaders in the national market. Then, in an unprecedented move, Artois and Piedboeuf secretly merged their shareholding in 1971, though keeping their operations separate until 1987 when they openly and operationally merged to become Interbrew.
Throughout their histories Artois, Piedboeuf, and their successor companies have kept a controlling family ownership. This book provides a unique insight into the complex history of these three family breweries and their path to becoming a prominent global company, and the growth and consolidation of the beer market through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


1 A Traditional Industry Switches Gears (ca. 1850-1914)
2 Bridging Two Wars (1914-1944)
3 Life in the Fast Lane (1945-1971)
4 The Secret Alliance (1971-1987)
5 From Local to Global (1987-2000)


Kenneth Bertrams is Professor at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles where he teaches Economic History, Business History, and History of Science and Technology. His research interests include business history, the development of science-industry interactions, the development of public-private partnerships, and the traffic of ideas among networks of experts within Western Europe and the United States.
Julien Del Marmol is a researcher at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles. His current research focuses on the different types of business ownership and the history of family businesses in Belgium and Canada, particularly in regard to corporate governance and international growth.
Sander Geerts is a junior researcher at the KU Leuven. He is particularly interested in the history of beer and brewing. His current research topic is Belgian politics.
Eline Poelmans is an economist and historian. She is assistant professor of international economics at the Faculty of Economics and Business, KU Leuven. She is interested in economic history, particularly the economic history of food with a focus on beer.