Decision Reached In German Beer Price-Fixing Case, Leaving 5 Breweries With Millions In Fines

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

Beer - Masskrug

The Federal Cartel Office in Germany has completed their investigation into the possible price-fixing done by at least five breweries in the country, and found the companies guilty of working together to raise prices between 2006 and 2008.

Bitburger, Krombacher, Warsteiner, Veltins, and Barre, as well as seven people associated with the breweries, are facing 106.5 million euros ($145.5 million) in fines.  These five companies could have faced even higher fines, but since they cooperated with the investigation, the penalty was reduced.  Anheuser-Busch InBev was also found guilty of participating in the price-fixing, but will not face any fines since the company was first to report the activity, leading to the investigation.

Andreas Mundt, president of the German Cartel Office, issued a statement saying that the “price increases agreed for draft beer in 2006 and 2008 were in the range of 5 to 7 euros per hectoliter… For bottled beer a price increase was discussed in 2008 that should’ve led to an increase of 1 euro in the price of the 20-bottle case.”

When news of the investigation first began to surface in April of last year, it was believed that more than a dozen German breweries were being investigated.  The Federal Cartel Office is still investigating several other breweries as well  as North Rhine-Westfalia’s regional brewery association to see if they had any connections to the price-fixing scheme.


Sources: Market Watch, Bloomberg
Photos: senator86 [Wikipedia]

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Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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