AB InBev removes connection fees for small brewers

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Leading brewer AB InBev has unveiled changes to the fees involved in sharing cellar draught dispense equipment in Britain’s pubs.

The new “fairer” system is being launched as part of AB InBev’s Raising the Bar programme.

In outlets where AB InBev is the lead brewer, smaller drinks companies will not have to pay connection fees going forward to dispense their drinks on draught and use the cooling and pouring infrastructure under the bar.

Under the current system in the UK, Brands Dispense Association members and large producers pay a one-off connection fee of £145 to the lead brewer for each brand with a tap at the bar on point of install.

Other brewers have recently announced changes to the system, which would see the one-off connection fee replaced with monthly line charges of £10.50.

AB InBev’s Raising the Bar scheme will keep the one-off £145 connection fee in place for larger producers to connect to AB InBev’s dispense system, where they are lead brewer.

Smaller companies and pubs will be saved from the additional costs and administration, in a move that the brewer hopes will be fairer for the industry and encourage innovation in the drinks sector.

Rory McLellan, on-trade sales director, AB InBev UK, said: “We feel the new monthly line charges being put forward are restrictive to craft or emerging brands that have re-energised our industry and Britons’ passion for beer in recent years.

“We believe Raising the Bar is the best option for both the industry and beer lovers and we’re confident our fellow brewers will agree.

“Under our proposal there will be no overstretched pubs or drinks companies left footing the bill or being forced to pass costs on to pub-goers; it’s the fairest scheme for everyone involved.”

The Raising the Bar scheme will come into effect as of 1 April 2019. AB InBev is in discussions with other brewers, with the initiative anticipated to get wider support across the industry.

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