Beer Orders act to be reviewed

Act forced many large breweries to sell off pubs in last 10 years

Jan 14, 2000 - British regulators plan a review of restrictions on the number of pubs that a brewery can own or have am exclusive beer supply agreement with. The implementation of the Beer Orders act in 1989 forced many British breweries to sell off thousands of pubs.


The Beer Orders were designed to cut beer prices and improve consumer choice by increasing competition between pub operators. Large brewers now own only 16% of U.K. pub licenses, compared with half 10 years ago.

"We will be consulting widely to determine the impact of the orders and subsequent changes in the pub ownership -- as well as brewery consolidation and rationalization -- on competition and consumer choice," Director General of Fair Trading John Bridgeman said.

"I will want to be sure that any regulation efficiently promotes competition and safeguards consumer choice."

One analyst said that if the review results in a relaxation of the Beer Orders act that it could open the door for international brewers. "Once the act is reviewed and the competition rules are newly defined, companies such as Carlsberg and South African Breweries might take a new look at the market," the analyst said.

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