Industry body Cider Australia is calling on the ACCC to separately consider the cider category when reviewing the proposed acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries by Asahi Beverages.
Asahi and AB InBev-owned CUB announced the deal on 19 July. The ACCC will now consider whether the proposed merger should go ahead based on whether is likely to substantially lessen competition in the alcoholic beverage market.
Cider Australia president Sam Reid said the industry is concerned about the possible impact of the merger on the cider category because a combined Asahi/AB InBev business would control around 70 per cent of the category by volume share. Source: IRI/Market Edge].
“Unlike beer where different sub-segments of the category – such as Pale Ale, IPA and Sour Beers – are well established, tap contracts for cider tend to cover the entire category”, said Mr Reid.
“Such a significant consolidation in brand ownership is likely to further limit competition and innovation in the cider category to a far greater extent than in beer.
“We encourage the ACCC to independently consider the competitive landscape for cider, including to re-consider the impacts of tap contracts given they can completely lock out new and emerging products.
“It may be time to consider prohibiting non-price incentives in tap contracts, or even getting rid of tap contracts completely.
“With the advent of Cider Australia’s 100% Australian Grown trust mark, a level playing field for smaller cider producers and Australian apple and pear growers is as important as ever”, Mr Reid said.
Real Cider Reviews Opinion.
The handful of big multinationals have a strangle hold on many pubs. I’ve heard stories of pubs being told to take these free kegs of “cider” when they buy x number of kegs of the brewer’s beer, under the condition they can’t stock any quality cider. If people only see rubbish “cider”, they’ll begin to think this is want Cider is, they begin to think that that’s all it can be. Which in the end is bad for the whole market. It’s bad for the pubs in the long run too. I’m not going to drink at a venue that’s only going to serve be fake cider.
But that is all part of the long-term goal for these multinationals. Selling rubbish cider, convince the punters that cider is not worth drinking then convert them back to beer, which is cheap and easier to make throughout the year. And we all know CUB a track record at making undrinkable ciders. See also Little Green Apple Cider
What we need is more competition between these big players. I want a pubs to be able to say to the multinational brewers “Hey if you don’t let me keep these few taps free to support the local independent brewers and cider makers; I’ll source all my kegs from someone else.”
With less players in the market the less chance publicans have got to negotiate in for a wider range. and in the end, it’s you and me, the drinking public that will lose out. So I say no to an Asahi – CUB merger