EC breaks Belgian beer ties

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, Belgium, European commission, Interbrew

The European Commission has approved new supply agreements with Interbrew which will break most beer ties between the brewing giant and more than...

The European Commission has approved new supply agreements with Interbrew which will break most beer ties between the brewing giant and more than 10,000 Belgium pubs, restaurants and hotels. The agreements, which come into force in the next two months, force the company to allow competitors access to its tied outlets. The move will lead a radical opening up of the Belgium beer market. The new policy will give Belgium outlets which have loan, lease and sub-lease agreements with Interbrew the commercial freedom to carry beers not brewed by the company. Mario Monti, Commissioner responsible for competition, said it was a victory for consumers. "They will now have additional choice of beer brands in more than 10,000 outlets which have so far been exclusively supplied by Interbrew. In view of Interbrew's strong position, I expect that this will bring an extra dynamic to the Belgium beer market." The ruling affects more than 7,000 outlets tied to Interbrew ­ the largest Belgium brewer with a market share of 56% of the so-called "horeca" (pubs, restaurants and hotels) sector ­ under loan agreements which force them to serve exclusively Interbrew's beer. These outlets can now end their lease agreements by giving three months' notice.

Related topics: Beer

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