SABMiller, the brewer behind Peroni and Grolsch, and the controversial supporters of the first boycott-busting rebel cricket tour of apartheid South Africa 28 years ago, will be spending millions of pounds on Football World Cup celebrations. The brewer will also be sponsoring the tournament’s predominantly black home team.
Norman Adami, head of SAB’s South African business, said SABMiller has a clear obligation for demonstrating leadership in every dimension of brewery business.
The marketing campaign highlights the extraordinary political journey the South African brewer has navigated since the darkest days of apartheid, transforming itself from a sprawling conglomerate within an isolated pariah nation into one of the republic’s most successful multinational corporations.
Last December about 8.5% of the group’s business in South Africa – which retains the South African Breweries name – was transferred to a broad base of black stakeholders, including staff and liquor store operators, under a government sponsored black empowerment initiative.
Since listing on the London stock market in 1999 the group’s board has also become among the most diverse anywhere in the world and includes among its number former ANC general secretary Cyril Ramaphosa. Nationalities around the board table include Zambian, Colombian, American, British, Dutch as well as South African, in part reflecting a frantic run of cross-border mergers pursued by the group once the shackles, of operating from an internationally isolated apartheid state, fell away.
SAB’s marketing manager Alastair Hewitt is confident that football fans will love SAB despite the fact that the company cannot overtly brand the beer served due to FIFA’s exclusive tie-up with Budweiser.