Price-Fixing in the German Beer Industry
While it may not grab headlines with the same vigor as last year’s ebook price-fixing scandal involving Apple and a handful of publishers, the German Federal Cartel Office released news Monday that a group of beer brewers has been hit with a $145 million dollar fine for price tampering from 2006 to 2008. The five firms deemed to be “personally responsible” for the lawbreaking include: Bitburger, Krombacher, Veltins, Warsteiner, and Barre.
Andreas Mundt, speaking for the Cartel Office, revealed that the companies named – some of Germany’s best known beer sellers – colluded to to raise draft beer prices in 2006 and 2008 by $6.80 – $9.50 per 26.4 gallons. Additionally, they pushed up the price of a case of beer by one euro in 2008. The Cartel office was alerted to the possibility of price-fixing by the German branch of Anheuser-Busch, the world’s largest beer seller. In return for its cooperation, Anheuser-Busch received no fine.
Mundt went on to say that the price-fixing activities were conducted largely through personal and telephone contacts. With over 1,300 breweries and 5,000 brands of beer, this particular beverage has been a German institution for hundreds of years. (Derek Dowell – VNN) (Image: Flickr | rankun76)