News has been slowly leaking out about an ongoing investigation being conducted by the German Federal Cartel Office regarding possible price-fixing practices done by over a dozen German beer companies. A spokeswoman for the office did admit that several companies have been under investigation since September 2011, but declined to comment on which beer companies were on the list. It is still an ongoing investigation, and while the German cartel office does not know when it will be completed, they hope to wrap up soon.
The German magazine Focus did some digging around and was able to get confirmation from several beer companies that they were indeed part of the investigation. Carlsberg, Anheuser Bush InBev, Warsteiner, Krombacher, Erdinger, and Bitburger are just a few of the companies believed to be under investigation. In total it appears that the companies responsible for over half of the entire German beer market share are involved, which would make this the largest investigation by the German Federal Cartel Office to date.
Focus believes the fines these companies face could be in the hundreds of millions of euros if found guilty of artificially inflating their beer prices. Anheuser Bush InBev commented on that rumor of the fines and stated that they are taking all the appropriate steps in working with the Cartel Office and so far see no “provisions for any potential fines at this point in time.”