Germany: AB InBev names 12th country director in 18 years

After Florian Weins (35), Country Director Germany for AB InBev handed in his resignation for personal reasons after being in office only for 8 month (, 30.11.2018), the world’s largest brewer has named Michel Pepa, currently the company’s Revenue Director for Belgium , Germany and Luxembourg as his successor. After graduating in 2012 with a master’s degree in business economics from the Catholic University of Leuven, the thirty-year old Belgian held various management positions within AB InBev in Europe.

Pepa will be the 12th country director of AB Inbev Germany and probably the youngest since the company entered the German beer market with an own production 18 years ago. "We are pleased that we have appointed Michel Pepa to this position, a colleague who can further advance the growth targets for the German business", says Fabio Sala, European Manager of the Group.

People close to the matter doubt that AB InBev can achieve major growth targets in a saturated beer market like Germany. In March, shortly after Florian Weins took office in Bremen, the manager had to announce that the intended combined sale of AB InBev’s two German breweries Hasseröder and Diebels which together stand for a production of more than 2 million hectoliters had failed (, 20.3.2019). Weins said at that time that the company changed now its strategy and aims for the market leadership in the German beer market. However, with only 6.5 million hectoliters AB InBev has still to bridge a gap of more than 4.5 million hectoliters to reach German beer market leader Radeberger Group.

As can be seen by the frequent management changes, AB InBev experienced not expected difficulties in a beer market which is said to be one of the toughest in the world.

Just 7 months ago, Greg Koch, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman at Stone Brewing had to admit that his idea to establish a craft brewery in Germany’s capital Berlin had failed (, 5.4.2019).

Carlsberg, the no. 4 brewer in the world but only no. 10 in Germany had also to move away from the idea to become a leading player in the German beer market. The Danish company was the first international brewing group to buy Hannen, a local brewery in Germany in 1988. In 2004, the Hamburg-based Holsten Group, by that time one of the leading German brewing groups was acquired by Carlsberg. Since then, Carlsberg’s star in Germany is fading. Over the years, the group had to sell several of its breweries (amongst others Hannen, König, Licher, Landskron, Feldschlösschen Braunschweig and Feldschlösschen Dresden). Buyers were exclusively German brewing groups because international buyers were deterred by the obvious difficulties of the market. In 2011, the Danish brewer tried to sell the entire rest of its German unit to German beer market leader Radeberger Group but the negotiations finally failed. From next month on, Carlsberg’s main brewery Holsten in Altona, a suburb of Hamburg will close its doors and the company will open a new, much reduced production site in Hausbruch at the outskirts of the city.

Other international brewing groups like Heineken, MolsonCoors, Asahi, Kirin, Groupe Castel or Diageo were wise enough not to buy or to establish an own production site in Germany.

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