Anheuser-Busch InBev SA (AB InBev) is the largest brewer in the world, wielding a portfolio of more
than 500 beverages that includes consumer favorites Budweiser, Corona, Brahma, Cass, Eagle Lager,
and Stella Artois. This company is a truly global one, employing 175,000 people in 50 countries and
generating nearly $55 billion in annual revenue. Since people have been brewing and drinking beer
for nearly 12,000 years, and since AB InBev has been a major corporate player for the last 150 of
those, the company has plenty of reasons to be comfortable with its success.
However, as consumer behavior and trends were shifting, AB InBev realized it needed to rethink its
approach to innovation. As a result, in 2015, ZX Ventures, the global growth and innovation group of
AB InBev, was born with a mandate to nurture, support, and grow the products and services of tomorrow
the organization. Today, the organization builds, grow and invests in businesses across industries—from
consumer products to technology and everything in between.
Innovation, Beer and Beyond
Patrick O'Riordan was one of the founding partners at ZX, and he explains that a significant part of
ZX was focused on capturing immediate opportunities related to beer. It established businesses in
ecommerce, merchandising, brand retail experiences, and expanded ABI’s portfolio of specialty beers,
"Innovation in our consumer's experience of beer was very much a focus of our work," O'Riordan
says. "Premium and specialty beer helped us expand to new channels and occasions all within
arms-reach of consumer desire. It was something that ZX prioritized and mastered over the last
number of years through our growth work."
When pushed to think beyond beer to spark exponential growth, ZX Ventures chose to partner with
Bionic. Pedro Earp—who created ZX and now serves as the Chief ZX Ventures and Marketing Officer
for AB InBev—says that the initial work was about reframing the opportunity.
"We realized that we're actually in the business of bringing people together," Earp explains.
"Bionic helped us see that concept. To go from being a beer company to being in 'the business of
bringing people together' freed us up to think about different ways of solving the consumer problem."