KY Bill Would Protect State's 3-Tier System

January 28, 2015

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) has introduced a new bill to prevent alcohol producers, distributors, and retailers from owning operating licenses in more than one level of the state's 3-tier system. HB168 comes in response to Anheuser-Busch InBev's November acquisition of a beer distributorship in Owensboro, Kentucky. Despite substantial opposition from local and out-of-state brewers, distributors, and public health advocates, state alcohol regulators were ordered  to grant the license to A-B InBev in November.

Several other states, including KY border states Ohio and Illinois, have passed legislation to prevent Big Alcohol from buying more distributors. A-B InBev continues to seek vertigal integration of the 3-tier system on a variety of fronts, including recent purchase craft brewers such as 10 Barrel (Oregon) and Elysian (Washington State). With its acquisition of Elysian brewing that included 4 popular Seattle brewpubs, A-B InBev gets to circumvent the system and act as producer, distributor, and retailer.

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