Vice President Joe Biden was in Brazil Monday for a meeting with Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and to attend the USA's World Cup game versus Ghana. The following day, Biden addressed the staff of the U.S. embassy in Brasilia and related an anecdote from the World Cup game to illustrate what the vice president described as a close relationship between the two countries:
As evidence of how tightly connected we are, one of my staff members last night said -- when he ordered a Budweiser beer, to the host said, well, it’s nice of you to have an American beer here, and they smiled and said, no, no, Brazil owns Budweiser. (Laughter.) So there is a lot closer ties than we’re given credit for.
Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, was purchased in 2008 by InBev, a Belgian-Brazilian multinational company headquartered in Leuven, Belgium. Anheuser-Busch only makes passing mention on its website of its ownership ("a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the leading global brewer"), emphasizing rather the company's U.S. beer sales and twelve breweries located in the U.S.
A 2011 article at AdAge.com noted that there had been speculation that the 2008 purchase of Anheuser-Busch by the foreign InBev "could be a disaster" given the "patriotic-infused marketing" the beer maker often employs. But such predictions seem to have proved overblown:
"The average consumer has a short memory," said Harry Schuhmacher, editor of Beer Business Daily. "The fact that Anheuser-Busch was bought by a foreign company was all over the news ... but then it died down and people went about their business."
Now that Vice President Biden has reminded the world of Budweiser's non-U.S. ownership during the global World Cup soccer competition, Anheuser-Busch and InBev will likely appreciate the average consumer's, particularly U.S. consumer's, "short memory."