Brewers Association CEO Bob Pease Testifies on ABI/SAB Miller Merger

Earlier today, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing regarding the merger of two of the largest multi-national breweries, Anheuser-Busch InBev and SAB Miller. Brewers Association CEO Bob Pease was invited to testify as a witness for the hearing entitled Ensuring Competition Remains on Tap: The AB InBev/SABMiller Merger and the State of Competition in the Beer Industry.

Industry Witnesses Called to Testify:

  • Carlos Brito – CEO, AB InBev
  • Craig Purser – President & CEO, National Beer Wholesalers Association
  • J. Wilson – Minister of Iowa Beer, Iowa Brewers Guild
  • Diana Moss – President, American Antitrust Institute
  • Mark Hunter – President & CEO, Molson Coors

Pease began his testimony stating, “I want to make clear that the Brewers Association is not opposed to fair competition. Our members have built thousands of successful small and medium sized business from scratch in a highly competitive environment…We also understand that the antitrust laws are designed to protect competition, and that they are not designed to protect individual companies or industry segments from competition.”

“I want to make clear that the Brewers Association is not opposed to fair competition. Our members have built thousands of successful small and medium sized business from scratch in a highly competitive environment.”

He went on to discuss the impact the merger could have on small and independent breweries’ access to market. “In fifteen states, large brewers such as Anheuser-Busch InBev are allowed to own wholesalers. At present, ABI is the largest beer supplier and one of the largest beer wholesalers in nine states…If ABI is permitted to maintain ownership of wholesalers, ABI can continue to systematically sell parts of its wholesaler network to other favored wholesalers that ABI effectively controls. Simultaneously, ABI will continue to purchase additional independent wholesalers and discontinue sales of competing brands that the independent wholesalers currently sell. Craft brands will then be forced into the MillerCoors network or to small specialty distributors that lack the ability to fully serve a territory…States have granted exceptions to allow limited self-distribution by craft brewers…but they are inadequate to address the imbalance that currently exists.”

View the full testimony