Craft Beer Trade Group Takes Exception To New Plan From America’s Largest Grocer

kroger grocer retail craft beer

Is craft beer under threat at the supermarket?

The Brewers Association, the trusted trade organization who represents America’s craft brewers, along with several other alcohol industries trade organizations, sent a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury to make the U.S. government aware of what they are calling a “new anti-competitive threat.”

In a press release from the BA, its director, Paul Gatza, addresses an announcement from The Kroger Company in which it says it will be launching a change to the mega grocer’s alcohol category management program they are calling the “Planogram Center of Excellence.”

Cincinnati-based Kroger, who owns retail grocery brands in 35 states, has chosen to outsource their beverage alcohol category management to Southern Wine & Spirits, America’s largest wine and spirits distributor. Being that the alcohol industry is so strictly regulated at both the federal and state levels, this move has red flags going up all over the industry segments. The biggest concern would be that the new plan would somehow affect craft brewers’ access to valuable shelf space in Kroger grocery aisles.

You can read the letter sent to the Treasury Secretary here.

Read about 3-tier beer regulations here.

Brewers Association press release.

Update: According to the Wall Street Journal, Kroger’s plans will include pay-for-play type scheme for merchandising arrangement.

Time magazine published a report stating that Kroger’s plans are “particularly worrisome for smaller labels,” since they will likely be burdened by new payments to distributors in order to have shelf space at any of the nearly 3,000 locations the grocer operates.

The Brewers Association’s Gatza is particularly worried:

If Kroger’s plan is approved, “what stops every other grocer from doing the same thing?” Paul Gatza, director of craft beer organization Brewers Association, told WSJ. “Then it costs a lot of money to get on the shelves.”

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade association. The association is an organization of brewers, for brewers and by brewers. More than 2,800 U.S. brewery members and 45,000 members of the American Homebrewers Association are joined by members of the allied trade, beer wholesalers, retailers, individuals, other associate members and the Brewers Association staff to make up the Brewers Association.

Paul Gatza is the director of the Brewers Association (BA), a not-for-profit trade association whose purpose is to promote and protect American craft brewers and American craft beer and the community of brewing enthusiasts. Paul is a member of the association’s Brewpubs, Technical, Communications, Market Development, PR & Marketing and Government Affairs Committees.

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