US Justice Department to Investigate AB-InBev After Complaints of the Company Pushing Craft Beer out of Distributors

by Alexander Frane on Oct 20, 2015 in Beer
US Justice Department to Investigate AB-InBev After Complaints of the Company Pushing Craft Beer out of Distributors

Craft brewers may have more to worry about from AB-InBev than its acquisition of SABMIller, as the US Justice Department investigates the company’s purchase of multiple distributors.

Last week, the beer world was shaken by the news that AB-InBev had reached an agreement with its rival company, SABMiller, to purchase the latter. The resulting merger would create a behemoth that controls more than 30% of the world’s beer sales. The announcement came on the heels of the purchase of the Canadian Mill Street Brewery, and the purchase of Elysian, from Seattle, earlier this year. What was less reported was the acquisition of wholesalers: five of them in three states, to be exact.

In the US, beer is moved from breweries to stores and bars by third party companies, known as wholesalers or distributors. In this three-tier-system, beer makers do not sell their beers directly, but rely on these wholesalers to do so. However, laws exist that allow beer makers to purchase wholesalers, as is the case with AB-InBev.

Now, the US Justice system is investigating complaints that AB-InBev is creating a market where it drives out craft competitors by controlling the wholesalers. Craft brewers are claiming that once a wholesaler is purchased by AB-InBev, they stop buying the craft product, or simply don’t work to move the product. Instead, AB-InBev offers only its own products, including the small amount of craft breweries it owns, such as Elysian, 10 Barrel, and Goose Island. The strategy makes sense, as recent years have seen a plateau in global beer sales, while craft beer sales continue to climb.

This strategy makes sense when combined with the purchase of SABMiller, as well—the acquisition would give the company access to the African and southeast Asian markets, while the purchase of wholesalers would allow it more control over the domestic markets. The Justice Department is just launching its investigation; until some evidence is revealed, we can but speculate. 

Photo via Flickr user dlofink


Tags: Beer
Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
New Deal Pear Brandy Has Come to Portland

New Deal Pear Brandy Has Come to Portland

Pear brandy is an essential aspect of Portland's spirits scene. Clear Creek, Portland's oldest distillery, developed the first bottles of its flagshi...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jan 16, 2018
Portland's Best Bar Snacks

Portland's Best Bar Snacks

Here are some of our favorite bars to grab a snack or meal in town. ...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jan 16, 2018
Game of Thrones & HBO Are Releasing their 13th Beer Collaboration, Hand of the Queen

Game of Thrones & HBO Are Releasing their 13th Beer Collaboration, Hand of the Queen

Game of Thrones might not be coming back until 2019, but you can still drink like Tyrion Lannister with the ne...read more ›

by Drink Philly Jan 12, 2018
SPONSORED
Vodka-Infused Chocolate is Here to Ruin Your New Year's Resolutions

Vodka-Infused Chocolate is Here to Ruin Your New Year's Resolutions

The adult candy company, Sugarfina, is behind this sinful creation of vodka-infused chocolate cordials, and th...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Jan 10, 2018
'World's Most Expensive' Vodka Bottle Stolen, Later Found Empty

'World's Most Expensive' Vodka Bottle Stolen, Later Found Empty

The bar world was shaken last week when a bottle of vodka, reportedly the most expensive in the world at $1.3 million, was stolen from Cafe 33, a bar ...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jan 9, 2018
Hangover-Free Cannabis Wine Now Being Sold in California

Hangover-Free Cannabis Wine Now Being Sold in California

Rebel Coast Winery was ready for California's change in legislation, as their marijuana-infused sauvignon blanc hit the shelves as the clock struck mi...read more ›

by Jessie Donofrio Jan 3, 2018
A New Study Shows that Wine Glasses Are Getting Bigger and Bigger

A New Study Shows that Wine Glasses Are Getting Bigger and Bigger

Good news for winos: a new study from the University of Cambridge says that the size of a standard wine glass is a full seven times larger than it was...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jan 3, 2018
Hero Kiwis Built an Island in New Zealand For a New Year's Eve Party

Hero Kiwis Built an Island in New Zealand For a New Year's Eve Party

A group of New Zealanders in the town of Tairua on the Coromandel peninsula rang in the New Year in the best w...read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jan 3, 2018
Brave the Winter with Hot Drinks in Portland

Brave the Winter with Hot Drinks in Portland

It's cold, and the best solution for that is to try out some hot cocktails. We rounded up nine of our favorite hot cocktails for 2017....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Jan 3, 2018
Where to Ring in 2018 in Portland

Where to Ring in 2018 in Portland

It seems that Portland, as a whole, is ready to move on from 2017 to whatever challenges await us in the New Year....read more ›

by Alexander Frane Dec 27, 2017
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close