Commonwealth Brewery Ltd. loses Anheuser-Busch InBev distribution deal

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December 02, 2015

Commonwealth Brewery Ltd. (CB) yesterday announced that its subsidiary, Burns House Ltd., has lost its four-decade distribution agreement with the largest brewer in the world, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), while rumors circulate that CB's chief competitor Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company has acquired the distribution rights.

In a statement released yesterday, CB announced that Burns House Ltd. had "received notice of termination" of its longstanding distribution agreement with AB InBev and Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana (CND). While CB stated that the company is considering its legal options, the company announced that it would agree to a "fair and orderly transition".

Guardian Business understands that Bahamian Brewery, responsible for local beer brands including Sands, Strong Back and Bush Crack, has been in talks with AB InBev to acquire the local distribution rights. Bahamian Brewery Sales and Marketing Executive Gary Sands had no comment when contacted for comment on the potential deal.

AB InBev, the largest global brewer, controls 25 percent of the world's market share and is responsible for massive international brands including Budweiser, Beck's, Corona and Stella Artois. CND, owned by AB InBev's Brazilian subsidiary AmBev, is responsible for brands including Presidente.

"Commonwealth Brewery is currently assessing its legal position, but has every intention to agree to a fair and orderly transition which recognizes, amongst other important considerations, the decades-long investments made by the company to build the brand franchise of the AB InBev brands in The Bahamas. We are also currently determining the finer details of the transition, such as timing," read the CB statement.

CB's notice further advised that the brewery would continue to "distribute as normal" until further notice. Calls to CB President and Managing Director Hans Neven and CB Chairman Julian Francis were unreturned up to press time.

AB InBev most recently drew international attention over its successful $104 billion bid to acquire SABMiller - one of its chief competitors and the second largest brewer in the world based on volume. Although the potential merger has not yet passed anti-trust scrutiny, it could have considerable implications for the local distribution market, given the fact that Bristol currently owns local rights to distribute Miller products.

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News date : 12/02/2015    Category : Business, Nassau Guardian Stories

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