AB InBev has scrapped a connection fee for small brewers in pubs and bars which had to be paid to the lead brewer for using their cooling and pouring systems. Under the old system, which was agreed by Brands Dispense Association members and introduced more than 20 years ago, other brewers regardless of size had to pay a one-off connection fee of GBP 145. As part of AB InBev’s Raising-the-Bar programme, only large non-leading brewers will continue to be charged the one-off connection fee.
Last year, Heineken entirely scrapped the one-off GBP 145 connection fee in favor of a monthly rate of GBP 10.50. The Dutch brewer said at that time that the new system meant fair charges for drinks producers of all sizes “reflecting the significant and growing cost of maintaining draught dispense equipment in an ever-changing market.”
However, Rory McLellan, On-Trade Sales Director at AB InBev UK, said: “We feel the new monthly line charges being put forward are restrictive to craft or emerging brands that have re-energised our industry and Briton’s passion for beer in recent years.”
Therefore, his company has adopted a different system with only “a minimal disruption to on-trade venues in terms of replacing infrastructure and there is no charge whatsoever to the customer,” McLellan added. “This combined with no fees for lower-volume drinks companies, frees up venues to offer a broad choice at the bar to cater demand.”