Belgium’s Two Big Beer Producers Increase Wholesale Prices

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One of the top beer drinking capitals of the world is not happy prices are on the rise.

After Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken’s Alken Maes recently announced wholesale price increases for their canned and bottled beers sold in Belgium, the country’s economy minister Johan Vande Lanotte has asked the competition authorities to investigate.

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In a statement by Lanotte’s spokeswoman, she said, “We will ask the competition authorities to investigate whether this is a case of unfair competition or price fixing.”

The two producers have cited rising energy, staff and raw materials costs for the increases, according to CNBC. Anheuser-Busch has also said it did not contact its competitors — such as Sam Adams and Molson Coors Brewing Company — about the increased prices.

“Information about our price and cost structure is sensitive and is never shared or discussed with competitors, in line with laws regulating commercial practices and competition,” said AB Inbev Belgium in an email statement.

Anheuser-Busch plans to increase prices by 5.9%, effective March 1, 2012 while Alken Maes will raise prices by about 6%, beginning March 12.