BELGIUM: InBev hits out at horeca allegations

By | 28 September 2006

InBev has attacked two leading Belgian horeca associations for accusing the brewing giant of abusing its position as market leader in Belgium.

InBev has hit out at allegations that the introduction of a new glass for flagship brand Jupiler has forced Belgian bar owners to pour more beer for the same price.

Les Fédérations Horeca Wallonie et Vlaanderen, two associations representing Belgian hotel, restaurant and bar owners, has lodged a complaint with the country's competition watchdogs.

InBev today (28 September) said it was "aware of the difficult economic conditions that the horeca sector faces at the moment." However, the brewer added that it was "deeply disappointed" at the associations' actions.

"InBev Belgium has for several months tried to hold constructive talks with the three horeca associations. Having been given notice of this complaint, InBev concludes that two of the associations have refused all constructive co-operation, which the company deeply regrets."

The brewer said it had introduced new glasses for Jupiler after launching a new logo for the brand. In Belgium, the use of branded glassware for beer brands is more common than most European countries.

However, Les Fédérations Horeca Wallonie et Vlaanderen said the glasses are 2.5 centilitres bigger than the old ones and require them to pour more beer for the same price. The associations said the glasses, coupled with InBev's request for a perfect serve, meant bar owners were losing money.

"It has led to a significant loss of earnings for the many of the outlets concerned," the associations said. They added that InBev had "unilaterally" decided to introduce the new glasses.

The associations claimed that InBev's decision, plus its move to introduce two price increases since November last year, constituted "an abuse of InBev's dominant position" in the market. InBev controls around 57% of Belgium's beer market.

Companies: InBev

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