The Budweiser and Stella Artois owner said the move will ensure British pub-goers get more choice as well as a high-quality pint.

 

It is calling the initiative Raising The Bar and in pubs where AB InBev is the lead brewer (ie they have the most brands on the bar) it means that smaller drinks companies will not have to pay connection fees to dispense their drinks on draught.

Under the current system in the UK, Brands Dispense Association members and large producers pay a one-off connection fee of £145 to the lead brewer for each brand with a tap at the bar. The lead brewer is then responsible for maintaining the equipment.

Recently however, AB InBev says that other brewers have announced changes to the system, which are due to come into force this April. Such changes would see the one-off £145 fee replaced with monthly line charges of £10.50 that would apply to all drinks companies.

Should the provider not pay, then the publican will be invoiced at £13.50.

The brewer calculates that, over the average eight-year life span of a beer line, this works out at £1,008 per tap for a brewer, or £1,296 per tap for a publican.

 

ABInBev raising the bar logo

"We feel the new monthly line charges being put forward are restrictive to craft or emerging brands that have re-energised our industry and Britons' passion for beer in recent years," explained Rory McLellan, AB InBev UK's on-trade sales director.

"We believe Raising the Bar is the best option for both the industry and beer lovers and we're confident our fellow brewers will agree. Under our proposal there will be no overstretched pubs or drinks companies left footing the bill or being forced to pass costs on to pub-goers; it's the fairest scheme for everyone involved."

The Raising the Bar scheme will come into effect as of April 1 2019, in pubs where AB InBev is lead brewer. The £145 one-off connection fee for larger brewers will cover the following:

 

  • Ensuring the dispense equipment is maintained for its shelf life
  • Health and Safety gas compliance inspections are completed
  • Coolers and assets are maintained or replaced where required
  • Ensuring beer quality is at its best working in partnership with each outlet.