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Friday, October 29, 2010

A Strange Little Revolution Has Died

This is a strange one: ten beer-drinkers filed suit two years ago to block the In-Bev/Anheuser-Busch merger, and amazingly, it made it all the way to the 8th Circuit Court:

The suit cast the deal as a "plain violation" of federal antitrust law, among other things. If the deal went through, the lawsuit insisted, "the beer market in the United States would be controlled by absentee foreign owners (while) consumer welfare and choice and the benefits of competition would be substantially lessened and tend toward the creation of a monopoly."

The suit also claimed that "the constant threat of InBev, the largest brewer in the world, to enter the market" substantially affects the market behavior of Anheuser-Busch and other U.S. brewers.

However, somewhat less amazingly, the 8th Circuit today dismissed it:

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge's decision to throw out the lawsuit last year... The panel suggested that allowing the lawsuit to go forward now could be counterproductive and fruitless.

What a strange coda the whole affair. If those ten beer drinkers asked me, I'd tell them to switch their loyalties over to Boulevard Schlafly*, still proudly brewed and owned in St. Louis.

*Confused my cities there. In fact, St. Louis is rich in breweries and good beer, so locals don't have to rely on Belgians for a good pint.


  1. Boulevard is in Kansas City. St. Louis Brewing is in St. Louis.

  2. Indeed. Reading that Boulevard was in St. Louis sent a strange stabby pain into my heart. The two cities have had a rivalry for years, most notably in baseball between the Royals and the Cardinals.

    But both Schlafly and Boulevard totally rock.

  3. Ha! I'll fix it. Idiot West Coasters...

  4. That the lawsuit got so far makes no sense to me. In what way does it significantly reduce competition in the US beer market and is thus harmful to consumers??

    You want harm to consumers, you ought to sue them for poisoning us with Bud.

  5. The lawsuit, such that it was, didn't get that far at all. It was dismissed by the district court, and that dismissal was upheld by the Court of Appeals. Seems to me the that is about as expeditious as you could hope for in our legal system (short of not bringing the suit in the first place or not appealing its dismissal). If anything, I'd blame the legal counsel that advised them this was worth pursuing.