Local brewers cheer Oregon senator's provisions in merger of beer giants

Local brewers cheer Oregon senator's provisions in merger of beer giants


By:  Jonathan Hendricks

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley announced several provisions Thursday in Portland that will take some of the bite out of a major beer merger.

AB Inbev and SABMiller filed for a merger and that had many craft brewers across the country worried that they would not be able to compete and stay in business. 

The more than $100 billion merger received U.S. antitrust approval on Wednesday.

Sen. Merkley says the company has to abide by four provisions as part of the deal. 

Merkley says the first is SABMiller must sell all of it's beer brands and will only bring it's distributor to the merger. 

Second, the Justice Department can review all future accusations.

Third, the company can not offer incentives for their own beers over their rivals to distributors. 

Finally, Merkley says 90 percent of beer sold from the merger must be done through private distributors.

The reason Merkley pushed for these provisions was to protect Oregon's booming craft beer industry.

“We want to make sure that this merger did not combine in a way to crush it," Merkley said.

In 2015, he says 206 brewers in the state produced 1.7 million barrels of beer. Merkley says the beer industry contributed $4.5 billion to the state economy.

Local brewers like Ben Edmunds at Breakside Brewery applauded the move.

“For consumers that is a win because there will remain that diversity on the market," Edmunds said.

Merkley told reporters Thursday, he plans to keep a close eye on the merged company.