A potential new law in Ohio has Anheuser-Busch/ InBev seeing red.
Legislators snuck in a provision that says Breweries can’t own distributors in Ohio, into a budget-balancing bill that sailed through the state congress with hardly a peep. In-Bev found out and contacted Governor John Kasich before he could sign it. Now the Gov will have to answer to InBev’s North American president, Luiz Edmond, as to why he can’t buy up any distributor he wants in that state.
Now we aren’t invited to that meeting, but we suspect the discussion will involve In-Bev telling the Gov. of Ohio that he damn well better not get in the way of Budweiser’s buying anything it damn well pleases. Not to mention the subtle threat of throwing mountains of beer money at whatever candidate is friendlier to the interests of the Global Beer Industrial Complex in the next election.
Like many states, Ohio has a very clear law that keeps separate the beer brewers from the beer distributors and the retail beer sales. No company in one sector can own companies in the other sectors. Bars, restaurants, and liquor stores are only allowed to buy from approved distributors. This prevents monopolization. (Imagine if In-Bev bought up all the bars in your neighborhood and sold only their own products. We’d never get to taste micro-brews, home-brews, and brewpub beers without Bud’s approval). It also prevents new products and competitors from getting locked out of the distribution process (Why would In-Bev want to distribute Coors products?)
On the downside, these laws also increase the costs to consumers by forcing a middleman into the mix, who, of course, will expect to make a profit by adding that into his distribution fees. Certainly, Bud could be sold at a much lower cost, if they owned the distribution and retail sales outlets, not that they would want to sell it cheaper, but they could. We’ve heard stories about upstart wine and beer companies that can’t get their product(s) to market because they couldn’t get the local distributors to carry it and were themselves legally prohibited from distributing it.
Quite the quandary for the Gov. of Ohio. Let’s hope he sides with the people who elected him, instead of the Global Beer Industrial Complex that wants to own him.