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08 April 2020

Independent Brewers call Asahi-CUB approval a “big blow”

Australia | The Independent Brewers Association (IBA) is not happy with the approval of Asahi buying Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), as it will lead to further restriction in consumer choice in the on-premise.

In a press release, the IBA, which represents Australia’s craft brewers, worries that the 650 independents, currently reeling from the damage caused by covid-19, were dealt another blow.

It said on 2 April 2020 that the watchdog’s ruling will ultimately decrease competition and consumer choice in pubs everywhere.

Tap contracts unavailable for craft brewers

“The move by Asahi to acquire CUB is an admission that this space is already too concentrated and that the only way to break into the draught beer market is to acquire businesses with existing tap contracts,” said Peter Philip, IBA Chair.

“The large brewers know this and use their scale and resources to implement a number of restrictive business practices, which have severely constrained the growth of small independent brewers when it comes to on-premise supply of draught beer.”

Crafty Pint, Australia, published this ad for the campaign "keeping local alive"

The IBA is disappointed that the competition watchdog ACCC accepted the token undertaking from CUB to divest the two beer brands Beck’s and Stella Artois. The two brands, says the IBA, make up such a small percentage of taps in pubs as to be meaningless in balancing out the anti-competitive nature of the acquisition.

The IBA will now be asking consumers to back a campaign to break open tap contracts and the anti-competitive practices used by Asahi and Lion to restrict consumer choice by locking out small independent breweries.

Read more about the Asahi-CUB transaction: Why did the Australian watchdog clear Asahi's takeover of CUB? Questions over Asahi-CUB transaction.