Victory: Kentucky Passes Bill to Protect Three-tier System

March 11, 2015

Kentucky legislators passed HB 168 last week - a bill to prevent beer producers from owning distributorships and distributing their own products, ultimately strengthening the three-tier system of alcohol sales in KY. A-B InBev's defeat came despite its increased number of lobbyists and money spent to influence Kentucky legislators. The bill will compel A-B InBev to sell its two KY distributorships, including the Owensboro distributorship it acquired in September 2014.

A-B InBev's attempt and successful purchase of the Owensboro distributorship prompted strong opposition from public health advocates , independent distributors, craft brewers, and labor unions, and was a catalyst for HB 168. The bill garnered bipartisan support from legislative leaders including bill author and House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg), Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), State Senator John Schickel (R-Union), and Governor Steve Beshear. The governor has indicated that he will sign the bill .

More of the 12 states without such three-tier protection may soon follow suit. Tennessee has also proposed legislation that would close a loophole allowing brewers to own distributorships.