This is a Bad News, Good News story.
First the Bad News. Back in December 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported this story.
“The Wall Street Journal reports that the incentive program, aimed at reversing a decline in sales, could provide as much as $1.5 million in reimbursements to independent distributors if 98% of the beers they sell come from AB InBev.”
AbInbev decides, in order to compete more effectively against rising craft beer sales that they would just pay distributors to only sell their products. No reason to focus on making a product that more people want to buy when they can just throw a lot of cash around.
Now the Good News. In July 2016, the United States Justice Department steps in and says not so fast.
“The settlement also prohibits ABI from instituting or continuing practices and programs that limit the ability and incentives of independent beer distributors to sell and promote the beers of ABI’s rivals, including high-end craft and import beers. Moreover, the settlement precludes ABI from acquiring beer distributors or brewers – including non-HSR reportable craft brewer acquisitions – without allowing for department review of the acquisition’s likely competitive effects.” Click here to read the lawsuit.
So, before you reach for a Becks, Bass, Boddingtons, Blue Point, Breckenridge, Devils Backbone, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Elysian, Four Peaks, Goose Island, Korbach, Spaten, Stella, or Shock Top to name a few, or if you’re thinking about buying a kit, kettle, or kegging system from Northern Brewer or Midwest Supplies, remember where your money is going.
Support your locally owned Homebrew Store (Brew & Grow MN) and support our wonderful local craft breweries. Shop Local, Drink Local, Cheers!