And the Biggest Just Got Bigger

It was announced that U.S. regulators–the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission–gave approval for the merger between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, PLC.  MillerCoors LLC will be sold.  Now there is also Molson Coors Brewing Co. involved, which plans to purchase MillerCoors.

The idea of this is for AB InBev to compete in Africa and Latin America, where they do not have much of a presence.

It is also, as I understand it, to compete with craft breweries and dig into their market share, both here and around the world.  Now a problem that AB InBev has here is that they are simply too big to create their own craft beer line.  What the small brewers have feared up to now is that AB InBev will use their influence with distributors to weed out competition in stores, bars and restaurants and make those who survive be subservient to AB InBev’s demands.

This agreement says AB InBev will not influence distributors into not carrying craft beer products.  Now I have a few questions about this.  With so many distributors both nationwide and worldwide, who is going to monitor this?  Who is going to stop this if it occurs?  A single craft brewer here and there may not have the financial leverage to challenge this behemoth.  Widespread violations may band small brewers together and pursue a class-action type lawsuit

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