Is It Last Call for Craft Beer? – by Jim Koch – NYT

“We have seen a dramatic consolidation in our industry in recent years. It started in 2008 when the Department of Justice approved the creation of a duopoly in the beer industry by greenlighting a joint venture between Molson Coors and SABMiller (creating MillerCoors) and, five months later, the merger of Anheuser Busch and InBev.

Overnight, about 90 percent of domestic beer production was in the hands of two foreign-owned brewing giants. (The consolidation continued in 2016, when regulators approved the merger of SABMiller and AB InBev; SABMiller sold back its stake in MillerCoors, creating a new duopoly between Molson Coors and AB InBev.)”

“This unwillingness to use effective antitrust enforcement to protect American economic interests is in stark contrast to how the rest of the world operates. Before approving AB InBev’s latest merger, antitrust authorities in China required it to sell its $1.6 billion stake in China’s largest brewer back to the Chinese government at a bargain-basement price. South Africa required guarantees of lifetime employment for its citizens, and the Monopolies Commission in the European Union required divestitures by SABMiller and AB InBev to keep their new, combined market share to 9 percent.”

We need to stop the madness of consolidation, to make the rich richer, while more and more Americans lose their jobs. The antitrust department of the Treasury needs to be empowered to protect jobs, and keep competition vibrant.

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