Abstract: The Growth and Survival of Multinationals in the Global Alcoholic Beverages Industry [Krooss]

Teresa da Silva Lopes


This dissertation examines the rationale for multinational growth and survival in the global alcoholic beverages industry from 1960 to 2002. It takes a historical, international, and comparative approach, looking at the evolution of about seventy leading multinationals from different continents, based in one or several distinct alcoholic beverages businesses (beer, wines, and spirits). Certain firm-specific advantages are considered to be crucial in explaining growth and survival, the most important of which are brands and marketing knowledge. While marketing knowledge explains the intelligence and skills behind the management of these firms, brands explain, among other things, the alliances formed with direct competitors, the systems of corporate governance of firms, their diversification strategies, and ultimately the merger waves that occurred in the industry. The crucial contribution of brands also explains why they frequently outlive the firms that created them. With implications beyond the alcoholic beverages industry, the dissertation indicates that, in non-science-based industries, where levels of competition, concentration, and globalization are high, brands and marketing knowledge, rather than technological innovation, are central in explaining the growth, internationalization, and survival of firms.