AB InBev fined €200m by EU

The European Union has fined brewing giant AB InBev for blocking Belgian retailers from sourcing cheaper stocks of Jupiler beer from Dutch wholesalers.

The EU found that the company had removed French information from the labels (which would be mandatory in order for them to be sold in Belgium), limited sales to just one Dutch wholesaler and making retailers promise not to source or sell Jupiler from across the border, all in order to maintain prices.

These restrictions where reportedly enforced by the brewer from 2009 to 2016 when the EU began investigating

The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said that: “Consumers in Belgium have been paying more for their favorite beer because of AB InBev’s deliberate strategy to restrict cross-border sales and, as a result, AB InBev had, “deprived European consumers of one of the core benefits of the European Single Market, namely the possibility to have more choice and get a better deal when shopping.”

The company was looking at a steeper fine but saw the penalty lessened slightly after it agreed to add required food information in French and Dutch to products sold in the Benelux region for the next five years.

AB InBev controls around 50% of the Belgian beer market and Jupiler accounts for around 40% of the beer sold in the country by volume.

John Blood, general counsel of AB InBev, said: “We appreciate the constructive approach taken by the European Commission throughout this process” and that the company had, “reinforced our compliance programme based on the learnings of this case. We have already been putting in place the appropriate measures as part of the remedy agreed with the Commission”.

One Response to “AB InBev fined €200m by EU”

  1. Roger Pol says:

    This sort of thing has been going on for years. Champagne houses (some of them anyway) were notorious for having cheaper stocks on the mainland than in the UK. I used to ship loads across 40% cheaper than what was being sold in the UK, but then my French suppliers were told that they couldn’t buy more than 10 or so cases at a time. I was Roger-ed!

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