ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Department of Justice announced that it has agreed to a settlement with Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) that will permit ABI to proceed with its acquisition of SABMiller.
National Beer Wholesalers Association President and CEO Craig Purser issued the following statement in response:
“The Department of Justice has imposed conditions to this merger – one of the largest deals in history and the largest ever in the beer industry – with the goal of maintaining competition in the beer industry and ensuring the continuation of the robust and competitive independent distribution system. The DOJ recognizes that the American independent distribution system is essential to a competitive marketplace and to providing the vast choice of beer available to consumers. The DOJ’s actions go toward ensuring that the U.S. market can remain a ‘consumer pull’ market through independent distribution, where consumer demand is what determines product choice and variety, and to prevent a ‘supplier push’ model where consumer choice is reduced.
“The U.S. beer market is thriving today because of a robust and competitive system of independent distribution that reduces barriers to entry, reduces brewer and consumer costs, and fosters the explosion of choice and variety desired by consumers.
“America is enjoying a new golden age for beer, with unprecedented variety and quality offered by more than 4,000 breweries, compared to less than 50 breweries in the 1980s. Sales by craft brewers grew nearly 18 percent in 2014, representing more than 11 percent of the overall beer market. It’s difficult to identify another industry that has experienced the same explosive growth in such a relatively short period of time.
“The winner is the American consumer, who now enjoys an incredibly broad spectrum of innovative, independently produced beer products for every taste.
“All of this consumer choice is possible because of a robust and competitive system of independent distribution, which reduces barriers to market for brewers of all sizes, creates a competitive playing field for brewers of all sizes and keeps pricing competitive for consumers.
“NBWA appreciates the Department of Justice and the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights – under the leadership of Chairman Mike Lee and Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar – for giving the merger a full examination and for their interest in supporting the American consumer.”
The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents the interests of America’s more than 3,000 licensed, independent beer distributor operations in every state, congressional district and media market across the country. Beer distributors are committed to ensuring alcohol is provided safely and responsibly to consumers of legal drinking age through the three-tier, state-based system of alcohol regulation and distribution. To learn more about America’s beer distributors, visit www.nbwa.org. For additional updates from NBWA, subscribe to The Daily Brew newsletter, follow @NBWABeer on Twitter, watch NBWA videos on YouTube and visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/NBWABeer.