More than 10,000 craft beer distributors and wholesalers will begin a nationwide strike Thursday over a proposed new contract that critics say would give the big breweries too much control over how beer tastes.
The group representing distributors and breweries is demanding that craft beer companies get a guarantee of a minimum of four years’ supply of beer to be distributed across the country, and a guarantee that the beers are safe.
They want to be allowed to change their beers freely.
The Beer Institute, which represents more than 20,000 brewers and distributors in the U.S., has already started talks with distributors over the issue, which is already being called “the tipping point” for craft breweries, with distributors arguing the new contract is not fair.
But, with more than a third of the U,S.
craft beer market already controlled by big breweries, many craft brewers and their distributors are calling for a new deal.
They say the deal doesn’t go far enough to protect them.
The new contract would let brewers control the content of beer, and allow them to restrict sales to only those who buy their beer.
It would also allow brewers to restrict distribution to only their own distributors.
For the beer companies, the deal would mean that they would be able to make changes to the beer that would alter the taste and safety of the product.
As for consumers, the Beer Institute argues that the contract would give too much power to the big brewers.
It would allow them “to take advantage of their distribution channels, and use them as an opportunity to sell their own beer,” said Mike Lips, vice president of government relations at the Beer Association, which has been involved in the talks.
Craft brewers also argue that the deal could have the unintended consequence of making it harder for craft beers to compete with big breweries.
“The problem is that it’s been an incredibly difficult negotiation to get a fair deal, and now that it has, it’s going to be harder for the beer industry to compete,” said Bill Bier, vice chairman of the American Craft Brewers Association.
Bier added that the industry was concerned that if the deal were passed, it could make it harder to craft beers and create an even larger gap in the beer market.
The brewing industry has long battled with the way the contract was structured.
But this time around, it is taking a different approach.
On the eve of the strike, the craft brewers group announced that it had reached a deal with the industry to put out a statement to the media outlining its concerns.
“We recognize that it may be a difficult negotiating position,” the statement said.
“But we believe that craft brewers are among the most important people in our country and have an important role to play in our nation’s brewing renaissance.”
The Beer Industry Group, which includes brewers, distillers, distributors and other businesses, represents about 2.4 million U.K.-based craft brewers.