AB InBev Defends SABMiller Buy to Senate

Questions asked about deal’s potential impact on craft brewers, rival beer makers

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV Chief Executive Carlos Brito defended the company's acquisition of SABMiller PLC before a skeptical Senate subcommittee that raised concerns the combination would hurt the nation's fast-growing craft beer industry and limit American beer drinkers' choices.

The hearing Tuesday underscored the rising influence of craft beer in Washington, D.C., as senators from Delaware, North Carolina, Iowa and Minnesota expressed support for craft brewers in their states and questioned the impact of AB InBev's deal. "Nobody wants to take a seat at a bar and discover their only choices are between a Bud and a Miller," said Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.).

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