Who We Are

  • – KENTUCKY’s ENTREPRENEURIAL CRAFT BREWERS –
  • – KENTUCKY’s INDEPENDENT BEER DISTRIBUTORS –
  • – LOCAL RETAILERS –
  • – PRIVATE CITIZENS WHO CARE ABOUT PRESERVING LOCAL JOBS AND KENTUCKY’S CRAFT BEER INDUSTRY –

How You Can Help

TELL YOUR LEGISLATOR TO VOTE YES ON HOUSE BILL 168

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Step 1

Find your Local Legislator

Enter your address to find out your House and Senate representative.

Step 2

Call your legislator at 1-800-372-7181 and tell them to vote YES on House Bill 168

Send an Email to your Legislator

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The Issue

STOP MEGA MONOPOLISTIC BREWERS FROM ACHIEVING THEIR GOAL OF CONTROLLING KENTUCKY’S BEER INDUSTRY

ABInBev is the largest brewer in the world. It was created after InBev’s hostile takeover of Anheuser-Busch in 2008 and is no longer owned by the Busch family. Since then the company has stated that it wants to move into distribution by buying up family-owned beer distributorships and expanding control in the beer industry. Unlike independent distributors, ABInBev ONLY distributes its own products. This type of monopolization stifles consumer choice and market competition. It blocks local craft brewers from market access and eradicates family businesses that employ thousands of people in Kentucky.

House Bill 168 closes an existing loophole in Kentucky’s three-tier system, protects jobs, and provides an even playing field for local entrepreneurial craft brewers.

Bloomberg Businessweek: The Plot to Destroy America’s Beer

protect-jobs

Call your legislator today at 1-800-372-7181.  Don’t let mega monopolies destroy local businesses.


Why?

WHY SHOULD WE PROTECT KENTUCKY’S ENTREPRENEURIAL CRAFT BREWERS?

  • Kentucky’s craft brewers have an economic impact of over $271 million (Brewers Association, 2012 Report)
  • Craft brewers like Country Boy, West Sixth, Against the Grain, Blue Stallion and others enrich our communities with their great products and people. Craft brewers buy local and employ local.
  • Entrepreneurial craft brewers partner with independent distributors to market their brand and get them on store shelves.
  • Consumers are enjoying craft beer and product diversity like never before but that level of consumer choice will disappear if mega brewers gain control.
  • If mega monopolies are allowed to take over distribution, craft brewers will not have access to market. It happened in Owensboro, KY where 195 non-AB beers were removed from their portfolio. Read more in the November 21, 2014 letter from Kentucky’s Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control to Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Read: Building Beer Brands

WHAT ABOUT YUENGLING? WILL WE EVER SEE THAT BRAND SOLD IN KENTUCKY?

If mega monopolistic brewers are allowed to expand in our state, it’s unlikely that Yuengling or other popular brands will start selling in Kentucky.

“If and when that times comes, if Anheuser-Busch is able to get larger, that really blocks an opportunity for us,” said Yuengling Chief Operating Officer David Casinelli. “My means to a consumer is through the middle (distribution) tier. And if the middle tier is consolidating, there’s very few choices left for the brewers.” – “’Beer Wars’ come to Kentucky” – Cincinnati Enquirer, October 22, 2014

READ: D.G. Yuengling Letter to KY’s ABC

WHY SHOULD WE PROTECT FAMILY-OWNED INDEPENDENT BEER DISTRIBUTORS?

  • Kentucky’s independent beer distributors provide over 1,520* well-paying jobs with health insurance benefits in the Commonwealth.
  • Independent beer distribut ors help market and bring local craft beer brands like Country Boy, West Sixth, Blue Stallion, and more to customers and retail shelves.
  • Mega monopolistic brewers are taking advantage of loopholes to buy up these independent distributors and increase market power.
  • The result? Local jobs are lost and craft brewers have to find another way to access the market because mega brewers refuse to carry products that are not their own.
  • Independent distributors have a big impact on our communities too. In the last three years, Kentucky’s independent beer distributors supported over 450 local organizations and contributed nearly $2.1 million to the community. That community support will disappear if mega monopolistic brewers are allowed to take control. *Data from National Beer Wholesalers Association
Read:  The Value of Independent Beer Distributors
Watch: The Importance of Independent Beer Distributors

NATIONWIDE ACTION

Kentucky is not alone in this fight. Other states realize the danger of ABInBev expanding into beer distribution. Since 2010 seven states (IL, OH, LA, ID, NE, WI, WY) have passed legislation to clarify a prohibition on brewery-owned distributorships. The collective vote of those states’ legislatures has been 695-81 in favor.

In fact, Kentucky law specifically prohibits any supplier of distilled spirits and wine from owning any ownership interest in a distributor’s license.

Now, all we ask is that the Kentucky General Assembly extend the exact same language and protections under the Malt Beverages statutes of the Commonwealth. No more. No less. VOTE YES ON HB 168.



The Three-Tier System

What is the Three-Tier System?

The independent three-tier system of alcohol regulation dictates that a licensed alcohol manufacturer sells to a licensed independent distributor and the distributor sells to a licensed retailer.

After prohibition, the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave states the authority to regulate the production, distribution, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. The system was designed to stop the abuses of the pre-Prohibition era, namely “tied-houses” that engaged in unfair sales practices.

Why is it Important?

The “Three-Tier System” prevents brewing companies from monopolizing the industry and forcing retailers to only sell certain products. It also prevents suppliers and distributors from having a financial interest or influence with retailers.

The system ensures public safety and increased consumer choice (like small craft beer brands). Likewise, the Three-Tier System fosters competition and grows local economies. Keeping the three tiers of Brewer, Distributor, and Retailer independent and separate of each other is critical to the industry. Under this system, Kentucky maintains adequate oversight of alcohol sales, helping promote responsible consumption while curbing the anti-competitive actions of one dominant producer.



Supporters

Businesses and Organizations Supporting Our Cause

Alcohol Justice

American Beverage Licensees

Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce

Commerce Lexington

D.G. Yuengling and Son, Inc.

Kentucky Association of Beverage Retailers

Kentucky Beer Wholesalers Association

Kentuckians for Entrepreneurs and Growth

Kentucky Guild of Brewers

Kentucky League of Cities

Kentucky League on Alcohol & Gambling Problems

Kentucky Ethics League, Inc.

MillerCoors

Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Kentucky