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Eye On Boise

Fri., March 1, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

Beer battle: Distributors fight brewers

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho beer distributors failed to convince lawmakers to forbid beer brewers including giants Miller Coors and Anheuser-Busch Inbev from buying distributorships. The Idaho Beer and Wine Distributors Association's measure was pitched in the Senate State Affairs Committee Friday; after much debate, the committee voted to send the bill to the Senate's amending order for possible changes. The group said it fears Miller Coors and Anheuser Busch will move aggressively into the marketplace, using their clout either to bend distributors' businesses to their will — or force them to sell. Meanwhile, Brazil-based Anheuser Busch contended at Friday's meeting that Idaho distributors were just seeking to use the Legislature to create an economic advantage that doesn't exist in the marketplace. The brewing companies say there are already very few distributors in Idaho, after a period of consolidation. Big brewers argue these distributors' bill simply sought to increase their own muscle.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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