so when i started on this wonderful adventure that is beer blogging a little over 6 months ago, one of the first things i ever wrote about was five of the big German brewers being investigated for price fixing (here), well after all this time the investigation has concluded and the breweries have indeed been found guilty of fixing the prices on many of Germany’s most popular beers, this was truly shocking for me because although price fixing is not that rare of a phenomenon it is the first time it has ever happened in the brewing industry. the breweries have been found guilty of colluding to fix prices from 2006 to 2008.
In secret phone calls and private meetings, the breweries agreed to raise the cost by five to seven Euros ($7 to $9.5) per hundred liters of beer, according the Federal Cartel Office known as the “Kartellamt.”
when asked to comment Kay Weidner, a spokesman for Germany’s anti-trust authority “While we have seen this type of manipulation with other consumer products, it is the first case in Germany’s beer industry,”
“In 2008, a price increase was agreed for bottled beer with the intention of making the 20-bottle crates one euro more expensive,” Andreas Mundt, the head of the German anti-trust authority said in a statement.
“The key witness in this case was the German division of Belgian-based beer giant Anheuser-Busch,” Weidner said. “In half of the cases that we deal with, our investigations are based on testimonies from key witnesses,” he added.
The breweries involved in this action were Bitburger, Krombacher, Veltins, Warsteiner and Privat-Brauerei Ernst Barre GmbH as well as seven individuals in the industry received fines as part of a settlement agreement.
the federal cartel was quick to point out that the investigation isn’t over yet as they are still investigating 2 national brewers and four local breweries, this is a terrible state of affairs for the German brewing industry as a whole as they were considered by many to be the purest market in the world and their market share reflected this, they are the largest producer of beer in Europe and the third largest consumer of the humble ale.
although they have not released official comments about which breweries are being investigated carlsberg have announced they are currently being investigated.
Considering this is how these brewery’s treat their consumers, if you drink those beers i think its time you switch to a more local brew that doesn’t take you for granted.
what do you think of this development?