Beer and the free market: A quandary

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With Super Bowl Sunday approaching, let’s take a look at an industry dear to the hearts of many an American male: Beer.

Since 2008, Anheuser Busch/InBev, an international conglomerate, has announced more than 15 takeovers of competing breweries. As a result of that buying spree, it now controls some 39 percent of the American beer market, and it wants more.

The company now has its eyes on Grupo Modelo, the makers of Corona Extra among other brands. Although it has only 7 percent of the U.S. market, Modelo is also the nation’s third biggest beermaker, which says a lot about just how concentrated the beer industry has become.

beerAnheuser already owns 35 percent of Grupo Modelo, and now wants to purchase the remaining shares. The U.S. Justice Department announced this week that is suing to block the deal.

Why?

According to the Justice Department, ABI and MillerCoors have established a nice, profitable little system.

“As the two largest brewers (a combined 65 percent of the market), ABI and MillerCoors often find it more profitable to follow each other’s prices than to compete aggressively for market share by cutting price,” the department claims. “Among other things, ABI typically initiates annual price increases in various markets with the expectation that MillerCoors’ prices will follow. And they frequently do.”

Modelo, however, refuses to play along with the game, much to ABI’s frustration. In California, for example, the giant ABI “rescinded a planned September 2010 price increase because of the share growth of Modelo’s Corona brand,” DOJ claims.

Internal ABI memos confirm that situation. For example, they complained that Modelo was “eating our lunch” in California, with ABI’s vice president of sales concluding that “California is a burning platform” thanks to “price compression” between ABI and Corona.”

ABI’s preferred solution to the problem was not innovation, such as the creation of better products. It also chose not to compete on the basis of price. Instead, its solution was to do what it has done so often in the recent past: Make the competition go away by buying it, and then raise prices to consumers to cover the additional cost.

If the deal goes through over DOJ objections, ABI will control 46 percent of the national beer market and considerably more than that in specific regional markets. As DOJ also points out, those regional markets are critical in setting beer prices, because local consumers can’t go outside their areas to buy lower-priced product.

So, is this further evidence of an intrusive federal government sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong? Should ABI be allowed to continue to buy up market share and thus reduce competition?

Or is this a legitimate use of government authority, needed to prevent the drive toward monopoly warned against by Adam Smith when he wrote that “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices”?

– Jay Bookman

123 comments Add your comment

Logical Dude

February 1st, 2013
2:10 pm

Wait, does this mean you’ll be playing the beer song for tonight’s FNTM?

randy

February 1st, 2013
2:16 pm

How did Anheuser Busch neglect to offer triple-salary jobs to the DoJ people who raised these concerns? Haven’t they learned how the free market works?

stands for decibels

February 1st, 2013
2:17 pm

godless heathen - owner of many things he does not need

February 1st, 2013
2:17 pm

Life is too short for cheap beer.

Rightwing Troll

February 1st, 2013
2:18 pm

“That has nothing to do with the epidemic of black on black violent crime that is happening in the liberal utopias of Chicago, Detroit, etc. ”

Meanwhile we in tea sak utopias like Alabama we have cranky,lying, paranoid old wingnuts killing school bus drivers and taking innocent kindergartners hostage…

You tea saks own this, you been preaching treasonous inssurection and revolution, now the cranks are starting to embrace it…

barking frog

February 1st, 2013
2:19 pm

It is great of the DOJ to be concerned about the price of beer
as the consumer gets raped by the price of gas.

bman.

February 1st, 2013
2:20 pm

it would be interesting to know how Grupo Modelo was originally formed. Who it’s origianl investors were, board members, advisors etc..Has A-B been involved from the start of the company?

I have seen this sort of thing many, many times.

Jerome Horwitz

February 1st, 2013
2:21 pm

Drink a Yeungling – America’s oldest brewery and family owned.

rwcole

February 1st, 2013
2:21 pm

When it comes down to it, higher beer prices trump free market capitalism every time.

Kimber

February 1st, 2013
2:22 pm

“Should ABI be allowed to continue to buy up market share and thus reduce competition?”

Worked pretty good for the AJC when they bought the GDN and closed it down.

Welcome to the Occupation

February 1st, 2013
2:22 pm

Pi$$water for beer.

American Exceptionalism.

Cutty

February 1st, 2013
2:23 pm

Stay thirsty my friends!

Granny Godzilla

February 1st, 2013
2:23 pm

I’m with the government on this…..now can they spare the time to look at media consolidation?

DownInAlbany

February 1st, 2013
2:24 pm

Jerome Horwitz

February 1st, 2013
2:21 pm

Yeungling Dark & Tan for me, Light for the bride! Cheers!

Mike

February 1st, 2013
2:24 pm

So troll, you live in Alabama?

barking frog

February 1st, 2013
2:27 pm

The big brewers will be consumed by craft brewers just like
the big box retailers are being nibbled to death by the dollar
stores. Let them do what they will the cannot create a monopoly.

southpaw

February 1st, 2013
2:27 pm

I shouldn’t say much, because I don’t even drink beer (tried it once and didn’t like the taste). A thought crosses my mind, though. Supposing that ABI and MillerCoors try to collude for high beer prices, they’ll create some opportunities. Here are some other brands people might want to try, in order to avoid overpriced beer.

http://www.statista.com/statistics/188728/top-imported-beer-brands-in-the-united-states/

Class of '98

February 1st, 2013
2:28 pm

Who cares? If it’s not Guinness, it’s CRRRRRAP.

Real Scootter

February 1st, 2013
2:29 pm

I don’t always drink beer.But when I do,I will sleep with a fat chic. :grin:

Joe Hussein Mama

February 1st, 2013
2:30 pm

Jay — “Make the competition go away by buying it, and then raise prices to consumers to cover the additional cost.”

What additional cost? In buying GM, they’d be taking on the assets and income of the company, not just their debt and expenses.

stands for decibels

February 1st, 2013
2:30 pm

to answer:

is this a legitimate use of government authority, needed to prevent the drive toward monopoly

It is, per the WSJ, a $100 billion dollar market. I don’t think it would be good for two organizations to control 78% of that market. I see no reason to imagine that blocking the sale would disincent product or business creativity or development.

So, yes.

Go San Francisco

February 1st, 2013
2:33 pm

¸¸.♬´¯`♬¸¸.♩¸¸.♬´¯`♬¸¸.♩
♥ ☆ ♥ ♥ ☆ ♥ ♥ ☆ ♥

Super Bowl XLVII

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kx5qke8XzS4

New Orleans, LA

♥ ☆ ♥ ♥ ☆ ♥ ♥ ☆ ♥

jm

February 1st, 2013
2:34 pm

“So, is this further evidence of an intrusive federal government sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong? Should ABI be allowed to continue to buy up market share and thus reduce competition?

Or is this a legitimate use of government authority, needed to prevent the drive toward monopoly warned against by Adam Smith when he wrote that “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices”?”

How about both?

Higher beer prices would reduce alcoholism to some degree.

But me, I’m in the Adam Smith camp. This is the hand of government ensuring the prevention of monopolistic behavior.

Good job justice department. Finally. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every so often.

barking frog

February 1st, 2013
2:36 pm

Jmmmmmmmmmmmmm
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every so often.
…………………………………………………………..
beware of blind squirrels…

jm

February 1st, 2013
2:37 pm

Justice department would be wise to consider more important issues.

Like the cable monopoly on high speed.

St Simons - he-ne-ha

February 1st, 2013
2:37 pm

The best way to combat beer monopolies is with rum drinks,
and margarittas, mon

Thulsa Doom

February 1st, 2013
2:38 pm

This is very unsettling. Doomy do like his beer at a reasonable price.

Jay,

Any info on why beer prices are so cheap in western pa. I’m assuming it’s cause of many local brewers but I really don’t know why. I just remember being shocked years back when my uncle and I bought a round of draft at the local pub. A coke was 50 cents. My 12 ounce draft was 40 cents. At the time a comparable draft beer in atl was $2 or more.

And just a few years ago I went to pa for a wedding. We went to a really nice bar and I bought a round for 8 or 9 of us. It was $14. I about fell over not from beer but from pleasant sticker shock. A bottle of bud was $1.50 and imports were $2. Glad I don’t live up there. I woulda died from cirrhosis long ago.

F. Sinkwich

February 1st, 2013
2:38 pm

Methinks the problem is more complex than Bud buying Corona. Funny business occurs locally as well among distributors. Puzzle me this: How come a given six pack o’ suds costs exactly the same at QuickieMart as it does at Mom & Pops Beverage Emporium?

barking frog

February 1st, 2013
2:38 pm

Hillary is launching her campaign on CNN….

stands for decibels

February 1st, 2013
2:39 pm

Jm and I agree on an economic issue.

Be afraid.

DannyX

February 1st, 2013
2:42 pm

I’m going to wash my Burger King Clydesdale burger down with a king of beers Budweiser tonight.

stands for decibels

February 1st, 2013
2:42 pm

Justice department would be wise to consider more important issues.

Like the cable monopoly on high speed.

Public option, perhaps?

http://www.governing.com/columns/Chattanoogas-Internet-Service-Is-No-Choo-Choo.html

Simple Truths

February 1st, 2013
2:43 pm

Out of honor and respect, we should refrain from commenting until Redneck Convert, our resident beer delivery man, has an opportunity to respond.

getalife

February 1st, 2013
2:43 pm

Beer is for lightweights.

Hillary has left the building.

RB from Gwinnett

February 1st, 2013
2:44 pm

Actually, the bigger issue is that breweries, such as Sweetwater, are not allowed to sell directly to their outlets (Publix, Kroger, etc.) and must sell to distributors who control all of the pricing. That’s not the case for pretty much everything else you see at the store.

Because of this, you see the distributors controlling the pricing of Sweetwater products on the shelf and not Sweetwater. This needs to change.

And for those of you so inclined, you can make some pretty darn good beer at home, whatever style you like, for less than you can buy it.

Joe Hussein Mama

February 1st, 2013
2:45 pm

Doom — “Any info on why beer prices are so cheap in western pa. I’m assuming it’s cause of many local brewers but I really don’t know why. I just remember being shocked years back when my uncle and I bought a round of draft at the local pub. A coke was 50 cents. My 12 ounce draft was 40 cents. At the time a comparable draft beer in atl was $2 or more.”

I think your guess is right; I have a lot of family in southeastern Ohio’s coal country, and beer prices there are much lower than they are for my relatives over around Cincinnati and Dayton (western OH). It’s not as cheap as you describe, but my guess would also be because of the brewers in the area.

stands for decibels

February 1st, 2013
2:45 pm

I shouldn’t say much, because I don’t even drink beer (tried it once and didn’t like the taste)

I don’t drink either, but $100 billion here, $100 billion there, pretty soon you’re talking a real economy, as the saying goes.

weetamoe

February 1st, 2013
2:47 pm

Has the trademark been committed?

stands for decibels

February 1st, 2013
2:48 pm

breweries, such as Sweetwater, are not allowed to sell directly to their outlets

interesting. Is that a legal proscription or a retail trade agreement?

DannyX

February 1st, 2013
2:49 pm

Remember all you free market Georgia conservatives, the beer business in Georgia is far from free market.

Erwin's cat

February 1st, 2013
2:49 pm

I prefer Palm or Stella…a few Old Specked Hens too..in Finland it’s always a Sandels or 3

Greg

February 1st, 2013
2:51 pm

As long as the Boston Brewery, Sweetwater, and New Belgium are widely available as alternatives, AB can get as big as it wants. All the big brews taste the same, awful.

DannyX

February 1st, 2013
2:55 pm

“interesting. Is that a legal proscription or a retail trade agreement?”

Georgia law.

Thulsa Doom

February 1st, 2013
2:55 pm

Joe mama,

I kinda figured you noticed that took. It was only about 5 years ago that I bought that round for $1′50 for domestics. Then I got on my plane and flew to atl the next evening. Upon landing I went to one of the really nice hotels downtown and drank in the bar. $6 a whack for a draft and inbuckhead at the time a bottle of bud was ruining $4 to $5. It was still a big difference. I’m guessing there may also bee a difference in distribution with little mom and pop distributors on every corner it seemed.

stands for decibels

February 1st, 2013
2:59 pm

people, this is not about how good or bad the brews taste.

This is about potential for consumer fcrewage.

(if I were to resume such consumption, for what it’s worth, in the bottle it’s Newcastle brown ale. On tap, it’s whatever the local british pub has to offer for a pint of bitter. Although Guiness Stout in either format is swell too.)

MaJo

February 1st, 2013
3:00 pm

Legitimate. I need beer to be as cheap as possible.

southpaw

February 1st, 2013
3:00 pm

dB@2:45

Very true. But we don’t contribute to the beer part of the economy. Does that make us “moochers?” ;-)

Thulsa Doom

February 1st, 2013
3:01 pm

Rb,

I had a friend who brewed his own beer. it wasn’t bad and you can brew it differently to suit your taste. Seemed like a Lotta work though and kinda time consuhming so eventually he gave it up. still kinda cool though that anyone can do it.

Joe Hussein Mama

February 1st, 2013
3:01 pm

RB — “And for those of you so inclined, you can make some pretty darn good beer at home, whatever style you like, for less than you can buy it.”

This is absolutely true. It was illegal to make your own beer at home in GA until around 1995 (but there was a store down in Buckhead that would sell you equipment and supplies), but an old college buddy of mine in a nearby state has been making his own homebrew for years. He likes his stronger and darker than what you can buy commercially.

Then again, he’s either first- or second-generation American of German descent, so I think beer-making’s in his blood.

stands for decibels

February 1st, 2013
3:01 pm

Georgia law.

Merci. What about the rest of the country? Is that a common state law or not-so-much?

stands for decibels

February 1st, 2013
3:03 pm

But we don’t contribute to the beer part of the economy.

Actually I guess I do, because I do pick up some bottles/cans now and again, either for my better half or for company.

(Or for chili.)

In fact, I just picked up a 12-pack of Tecate in what were billed as “Retro 60s” cans, last week!

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

February 1st, 2013
3:03 pm

Well, I take offense at anybody that says PBR ain’t high quality stuff. You can say whatever you want about Bud or Miller or any of that junk. And especially that cheap wine that Sister Dusty always gulped before she blogged. I reckon the reason why Bookman banned her was because she went on a binge.

Long as this merger don’t change the price of the beer stock in my 401k it’s fine by me. But if it starts hitting that then I want the guvmint jumping in with both left feet.

Have a good p.m. everybody.

barking frog

February 1st, 2013
3:03 pm

Speaking of Chattanoga…Hamilton County(almost Chattanooga city limits) has been prohibited
from allowing whiskey distilling by tenn legislature and Chattanooga Whiskey, brewed in
Indiana has been trying to get the law changed to build a distillery. Hamilton is the only
county in tenn affected by this law, I believe. Alcohol laws are ridiculous.

Joe Hussein Mama

February 1st, 2013
3:04 pm

Doom — “I’m guessing there may also bee a difference in distribution with little mom and pop distributors on every corner it seemed.”

Could be. If the brewers could sell directly to the retail outlets, that might lower prices, too.

I know Ohio used to be an ABC state. I’m pretty sure Virginia and Alabama are still ABC states, too. Wonder if that affects liquor prices any?

ZoSo

February 1st, 2013
3:04 pm

Well that’s just swill.

jm

February 1st, 2013
3:05 pm

When I don’t drink wine, I drink White Russians. Among other things. -jm

xxx

February 1st, 2013
3:05 pm

Doomy
Sin taxes my friend. The city lines their pockets with hotel, alcohol and cig taxes.

bman.

February 1st, 2013
3:06 pm

Keep Up … .. where are you? They’re singing your song, and it’s something you can actually contribute to without Bing’n up some link

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 1st, 2013
3:07 pm

JAY:

Why is major league baseball a monopoly ?

Start there and then we’ll worry about the beer !

RB from Gwinnett

February 1st, 2013
3:07 pm

Doom, “I had a friend who brewed his own beer. it wasn’t bad and you can brew it differently to suit your taste. Seemed like a Lotta work though and kinda time consuhming so eventually he gave it up. still kinda cool though that anyone can do it.”

It is a little work but so is pretty much everything else that’s worth anything. You find it take the same amount of time to make 5 gallons as it does 20, so go big if you’re going!!!

BTW, Mr. Beer is to homebrewing what Chef Boyardee is to Italian….

skipper

February 1st, 2013
3:08 pm

“Lefties..righties……Unite I say!!!!! This is America. We may let pestulance, looting, pillaging etc. happen, but DO NOT LET ANYTHING BOTHER OUR BEER! Peaceful people will go to war over that!!!

Jerome Horwitz

February 1st, 2013
3:08 pm

Doomy must have been drinking Iron City in western PA. And DIA – knew we’d find some common ground. Enjoy a couple cold Yeunglings this weekend. Beer topics bring out more agreement than FNM!

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

February 1st, 2013
3:09 pm

“And the Supreme Court has upheld MLB’s right to their monopoly several times. In many ways, major league baseball is the only true monopoly … ”

http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2008/12/3/678134/the-history-of-baseball-s

indigo

February 1st, 2013
3:09 pm

One way or another, the Govt. will settle this.

If The Justice Dept. does it’s job, this buyout will not take place.

If, on the other hand, Busch is able to suffiently bribe our lawmakers, money will trump the law.

My bet is on money.

Money talks.

Joe Hussein Mama

February 1st, 2013
3:09 pm

B. Frog — “Speaking of Chattanoga…Hamilton County(almost Chattanooga city limits) has been prohibited from allowing whiskey distilling by tenn legislature and Chattanooga Whiskey, brewed in
Indiana has been trying to get the law changed to build a distillery. Hamilton is the only
county in tenn affected by this law, I believe.”

TN liquor laws *are* weird. My understanding is that TN was dry by law before Prohibition. Then, when Prohibition was lifted, the TN legislature agreed to let counties vote to become wet, but that they had to have 2,500 registered voters in the county seat before the matter could be brought up for a vote.

As Moore County, TN has never *had* 2,500 registered voters since that time, the matter’s never been able to come up for a vote. So the home of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery remains a dry county. You have to *leave* the county in order to be able to purchase and enjoy their most famous product.

RB from Gwinnett

February 1st, 2013
3:10 pm

“I know Ohio used to be an ABC state. I’m pretty sure Virginia and Alabama are still ABC states, too. Wonder if that affects liquor prices any?”

You can’t tell because the state tax rates are so different.

speedy gonzales

February 1st, 2013
3:11 pm

I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, it’s Four Lokos, pendejos.

ARRIBA ARRIBA

UNDELE UNDELE

DannyX

February 1st, 2013
3:13 pm

“Merci. What about the rest of the country? Is that a common state law or not-so-much?”

I don’t believe that is very common. Georgia has Bible Belt alcohol laws. Prohibition repeal gave states the right to regulate alcohol sales however they want.

Another one of those Bible Belt laws is distribution. Only one wholesale distributor is allowed to carry each different brand. For example there is only one wholesaler selling Budweiser. That applies to wine and liquor too.

There have been attempts to change the wholesale law over the years, but the distributors have become very powerful and have helped block any change. The alcohol distributors have become some of the most powerful lobbyists in Georgia.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

February 1st, 2013
3:13 pm

wow, some cons actually agreeing that the free market works best with some government regulation…. maybe there is hope for some of them yet. Unfortunately it may be limited to “things that impact the cons directly” sort of like “keep your govt hands off my medicare”

Desert Dave

February 1st, 2013
3:14 pm

The best response is to join the “other” part of the piechart, and be a 22%er. Find a local brewery, like Nimbus here in Tucson, and support it. Good for you and good for the local economy.

Joe Hussein Mama

February 1st, 2013
3:15 pm

S. Gonzales — “UNDELE UNDELE”

That’s “andele, andele,” ya racist stereotype.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

February 1st, 2013
3:17 pm

And all this talk reminds me of Hadacol. Most of you are too young to know anything about Hadacol. Anyway, when I was a teenager it was being sold as a tonic to let people get rid of feeling tired, etc. The people at the Baptist church where my Daddy and Mommy took me all started using Hadacol. Some would go through 4 or 5 bottles a week. At church they would get together and brag about how good Hadacol was and how they never felt so good before.

Then the bad news hit. Some busybody got to work and learned that Hadacol was about 40% alcohol. All the people bragging about using it were walking around drunk as a lord. That was the end of Hadacol.

Just thought I’d throw that out there.

JohnnyReb

February 1st, 2013
3:18 pm

Beer makes one sleepy or a sloppy drunk, plus it smells bad. Vodka my friends, vodka.

curious

February 1st, 2013
3:18 pm

Beer; waste of space.

Drink Jack Daniels and play Roy Orbison.

getalife

February 1st, 2013
3:20 pm

Moore County, TN shows us how slow is change.

I sip Crown,

Dusty guzzled Mad Dog or Maneshevitz.

skipper

February 1st, 2013
3:23 pm

@Redneck convert……
Been many a “good thing” that in the past was refered to as “tonic”….like Granny Clampett’ss little “xxx” jug with her “medicine” in it!

curious

February 1st, 2013
3:27 pm

Congratulations Jay,

A topic that hasn’t generated many, if any, insulting remarks about people’s intelligence.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

February 1st, 2013
3:27 pm

It’s good to see the DOJ Antitrust Division finally working again. They collected record breaking fines of $1.35 billion in 2012 (from 14 companies) and 2013 will be even bigger according to predictions. Good news for the deficit and for finally stopping the many market abuses.
http://www.insidecounsel.com/2012/12/14/doj-antitrust-division-collects-record-breaking-fi

stands for decibels

February 1st, 2013
3:28 pm

In many ways, major league baseball is the only true monopoly …

Scout, you seem displeased by this state of affairs. That is good. I am too, have been for a long time.

The ghost of Curt Flood will have his revenge, one day.

southpaw

February 1st, 2013
3:28 pm

sfd@3:03

Enjoy the chili and the company–especially the company of your better half. I’m gone.

Real Scootter

February 1st, 2013
3:29 pm

Beer makes one sleepy or a sloppy drunk, plus it smells bad. Vodka my friends, vodka.

Disagree JReb! I can’t drink enough beer to get sloppy drunk but vodka will do it for me.Whew.

speedy gonzales

February 1st, 2013
3:32 pm

Bring back the original formula of COCA Cola!

ARRIBA ARRIBA

UNDELE UNDELE

Buzz Belle

February 1st, 2013
3:32 pm

My son brews his own beer and would be a good blogger except he’s off in Afghanistan. I sent him the link but they are 9.5 hours ahead of us, he might be asleep. As for me – wine. I’m a wine girl. Occasionally margarita, really like the martini – but, I have to stay away from them. So now, pretty much wine. Happy Friday everybody!

Thulsa Doom

February 1st, 2013
3:32 pm

Joe mama,

Yeah. I can’t figure out out either except that theres got to be something significantly different in how alcohol is distributed to account for the big price differentials.

josef

February 1st, 2013
3:36 pm

Now, ain’t that sumpin…?

Bourbon drinkers are the loyal Americans…just sayin’

godless heathen - owner of many things he does not need

February 1st, 2013
3:36 pm

Used to be, and may still be, that in a bar in Ducktown, TN., by law you could not stand up and drink your beer. Suppose it cut down on the fighting.

George P. Burdell

February 1st, 2013
3:37 pm

Actually, the big breweries have been driving the small local brewers out of business for over 100 years now. Its just getting more consolidated, but it really doesn’t bother me because of the resurgence in the microbrewers and the great varieties they offer. The mass producers will never be able to match that because it doesn’t fit their economic model. I actually think that has been a contributing factor to the consolidation of the major players. Distribution is a major problem in Georgia and needs attention more than monopoly power of the big guys making similar bad tasting beer.

I remember the days before you could legally make homebrew in Georgia, although I might have made a batch or several dozen prior to the law changing. When attention came to the law in the mid 90’s, the homebrew supply stores had to black out everything that said beer making kit and sell them as bread making kits. They never explained why they also sold bottles, caps and carboys for you to use with the breadmaking kits, but it was a clever way around a stupid law. I don’t make as much beer now just because their is such a good selection of microbrews available but I am grateful that it is perfectly legal to do so.

Real Scootter

February 1st, 2013
3:38 pm

I can’t figure out out either except that theres got to be something significantly different in how alcohol is distributed to account for the big price differentials.

Hey Doom,I think it may be price gouging by some of the locals.Not sure though.

TBS

February 1st, 2013
3:40 pm

Thulsa

Not sure if it accounts for all of the difference, but I know that GA has consistently been towards the top in terms of taxes levied on alcoholic beverages.

Not sure how the distribution impacts it nor not, but do know the distributors in GA are a powerful lobby.

See Donald Leebern who owns Crown Distributing. He might still on the Board of Regents as well. Ex Bulldawg player who took dad’s business to another level. He is a “broker” in the state.

TaxPayer

February 1st, 2013
3:42 pm

Adam Smith! I thought it was Sam Adams that warned us about those other beer makers.

Real Scootter

February 1st, 2013
3:42 pm

Bourbon drinkers are the loyal Americans…just sayin’

Well Josef,I have been known to drop a shot of JB in my beer. :wink:

Curious Observer

February 1st, 2013
3:44 pm

Lots of silly laws regarding the sale of alcohol. I remember a trip to Salt Lake City in the early 80s. You couldn’t buy an alcoholic drink in a restaurant. But if you went to a little annex adjacent to the seating area and bought a mini-bottle, such as the airlines use, you could bring it back to your table and the restaurant would provide ice and your favorite mixer.

Don’t know whether things have changed there since then.

Soothsayer

February 1st, 2013
3:46 pm

The only times I like beer is when I’m eating (hamburgers and pizza especially) and playing golf. All the rest of the time, I like vodka. I personally think beer is grossly overpriced for what it is.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

February 1st, 2013
3:46 pm

well that bman may be a child but at least he recognizes superior intelligence in knowing how to provide legal information.

http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/self-distribution-laws

Georgia

License to self-distribute: No

3-5-32. Brewer-wholesaler relations — Conflicts of interest

No licensed registered brewer, broker, or importer authorized to do business in this state nor any of his employees or members of such brewer’s, broker’s, or importer’s immediate family shall have, own, or enjoy ownership interest in or partnership arrangement with the business of any wholesaler or retailer licensee. Cooperative advertising and incentive programs shall not be deemed to constitute a partnership agreement.

Jm

February 1st, 2013
3:47 pm

Keep 3:13

This is not regulation per se

This is preventing monopolistic behavior

Regulation would be: sure, merge. The price of beer must be $6 a can, must use union labor, must be made in the US, and can’t produce any CO2 in the process.

Buzz Belle

February 1st, 2013
3:47 pm

Real Scooter – I know there used to be “state” stamps that were placed on beer as it came in from another country. It is probably still there and could be Ga. has a high “stamp” price on theirs. Ga. has pretty stiff regs on beer sales. I remember years ago there was abeer war going on between Pearson’s and (can’t remember the other store) on Heineken. They kept lowering the price until it got below the wholesale price. State came in because it is illegal to sell beer in the state below what you paid for it. That tells you there is price fixing somewhere.

josef

February 1st, 2013
3:47 pm

SCOOTTER

Yep! But I still drink my bourbon straight…well, actually, I sip it…not much of a beer drinker except when at the juke joint…i associate it with brawling…not that there’s anything wrong with that! :-)

Soothsayer

February 1st, 2013
3:49 pm

Curious: I remember going somewhere, I can’t remember where, where they sold you “setups,” i.e., everything but the alcohol and you poured your own alcohol into your drink. Maybe someone here knows where that is because I can’t remember.

Erwin's cat

February 1st, 2013
3:49 pm

They tried this once with the phone company and blew AT&T and a couple others up into several independent organizations…since then they’ve all bought and merged themselves into what they started with…3 or 4 big telco’s

stands for decibels

February 1st, 2013
3:51 pm

I still drink my bourbon straight…well, actually, I sip it…

I was never very good about the “sipping” bit, which is why all that stuff’s off-limits to me now.

/drive-by