SABMiller's Colombian beer unit has been slapped with an antitrust probe in the country.

The Colombian government's antitrust agency yesterday (26 April) said it has opened an investigation into the alleged breaching of antitrust regulations by Bavaria. The probe will look at claims, made by Heineken in the country, that Bavaria instructed retailers, bars and restaurants not to stock Heineken if they wanted to stock SABMiller's international beer brand Peroni.

Bavaria is alleged to have given incentives to dissuade outlets from selling other premium brands than Peroni, the agency said.

Speaking to just-drinks today, a spokesperson confirmed receipt of the information from the agency. "We are confident of our position, but we will co-operate fully with any investigation," the spokesperson said.

SABMiller has been given 15 days to respond to the investigation and, if found guilty, the brewer could face a fine in the region of US$377,000.

In Colombia, the premium beer category accounts for around 3% of Bavaria's total beer portfolio, with Peroni accounting for 20% of that 3%.