A beer cooler at Springfield Brewing Company stores beverages. | Nicole Lunger/Missouri Business Alert

Craft brewers unhappy with new beer law

Craft brewers in Missouri are bemoaning action by Gov. Jay Nixon after he signed legislation allowing beer companies to lease coolers to retailers.

Jeff Schrag, president of the Missouri Small Brewers Association and owner of Mother’s Brewing Co. in Springfield, said the new law will give large companies an unfair advantage in dictating what beers could be stocked in coolers, limiting access to smaller, independent brewers.

The governor’s action comes against the backdrop of a possible merger of A-B InBev and SABMiller. Announced last fall, the merger has already gained antitrust approval from the European Union, Australia and other countries. Approval in the United States is expected soon. If finalized, A-B InBev would control about 29 percent of beer sold worldwide.

Craft brewers say they are worried about the implications of competing against an even larger rival. Schrag called the lobbying for the cooler bill by A-B InBev “unseemly” and its signing another example of the company “slowly strangling independent brewers.”

The changes go into effect Aug. 28.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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