A-B InBev throwing their weight around

Despite its best and ongoing efforts, Budweiser parent A-B InBev knows it can't buy up ALL the craft breweries. So, the behemoth beer company has come up with a heavily anti-craft solution to turning around their declining market share (45% vs. 49% in 2008): use their massive financial resources to incentivize independent distributors to carry more of their products.

Per this Mother Jones article (and originally reported in the Wall Street Journal, but sadly it's behind a paywall), A-B InBev will "reimburse" independent beer distributors up to $1.5 million (and, per the WSJ, an average of $200,000) each if A-B InBev sales make up a certain percentages of distributors' sales. Additional requirements of this program will push larger, widely-distributed (read: more dangerous to A-B) craft breweries such as Sierra Nevada and Oskar Blues OFF THESE DISTRIBUTORS' SHELVES ALTOGETHER!

The folks at A-B InBev have seen craft beer's surge eat away at their market share for years now. A-B has now created a plan and dedicated up to $150 million over the next three years to get that market share back. And it's already working. Per the article linked, Oregon's Deschutes Brewery noted that a St. Louis distributor has dropped them in order to take advantage of the A-B reimbursements.

The Budweisers and Bud Lights of the world are the big money makers for these distributors. Ultimately, I can't blame them that much for accepting this strong-arm tactic. But I would much rather see craft beer continue to thrive and continue to chip away at the macrobrewers' market shares. I look at the explosion of high-end beer/wine/liquor stores and smaller (and largely small business) bottle shops, and would love to see them thrive at the expense of A-B InBev's tactics.