AB InBev allays US fears about stifling competition

Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev) tried to allay concerns that its pending acquisition of SABMiller will stifle competition in the US beer market.

The company’s move follows a letter from US Senator Amy Klobuchar to the U.S Department of Justice last week in which the senator raised pertinent issues with the department to ensure that craft brewers are not shut out from access to the market as a result of the merger.

In the letter, the senator said, a “number of brewers and independent wholesalers have told me that AB InBev may be pursuing strategies including acquiring multiple craft brands and implementing incentive programmes, to ensure only the smallest craft brewers have access to retail outlets.”

AB InBev responded to the senator’s concerns on Monday, saying “We appreciate and support Senator Klobuchar’s ongoing interest in preserving the vibrant competition that exists in today’s beer marketplace. Nothing in our combination with SABMiller will in anyway impact that competitive landscape as we will not be acquiring any new assets in the US, the company said.

The brewer pointed out that there are over 4,000 craft brewers in the US.

“We are confident that our partnership with just seven of these breweries, as well as the voluntary incentive programmes that we have offered for many years during which time craft has experienced explosive growth – support a competitive marketplace. In fact, the American beer industry has never been more competitive than it is today. We are committed to doing our part to continue to grow consumer choice in the future,” the brewer added.

The letter from US Senator Klobuchar follows a similar call she made in December and in April to the U.S. Justice Department.

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