OWENSBORO, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Anheuser-Busch has filed a lawsuit in Franklin County asking the court to compel the Kentucky State ABC malt beverage administrator to immediately grant the company’s application for a distributor’s license in Owensboro (Budweiser of Owensboro), which has been pending for more than 60 days.
The lawsuit also asks the court to compel the Kentucky ABC Board to rule on Anheuser-Busch’s motion to dismiss the appeals from the local ABC administrator’s approval of Anheuser-Busch’s application granted on August 25, 2014, and immediately schedule a hearing, should the motion not be granted. These actions are necessary to complete the private transaction between Hand Family Cos. and Anheuser-Busch. Legal precedent allowing Anheuser-Busch to operate as a distributor was clearly established long ago and reaffirmed by the courts in 1978 when Anheuser-Busch purchased its distributor in Louisville.
The local ABC in Daviess County approved the transaction in a timely manner, and the state should do the same as dictated by Kentucky law. The transaction is supported by the Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, Greater Louisville, Inc., and other wholesale distributors in Kentucky. The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is neutral in the sale, despite erroneous reports in some news articles.
From the beginning, the application review process has been highly abnormal and unusually lengthy. Anheuser-Busch has been fully cooperative with the ABC in their requests. By law, the ABC had 60 days to approve or reject the application. The deadline has now passed.
Anheuser-Busch has a proud history in Kentucky, having operated as a licensed distributor in Louisville since 1978. The company makes significant economic contributions to the Commonwealth, employing more than 165 Kentuckians and paying $10.7 million annually in taxes. Anheuser-Busch is a major sponsor of several well-known events, including the Kentucky Derby, university athletic programs, and the Kentucky State Fair, which represent an average investment of $1.17 million annually.
“Anheuser-Busch has operated a licensed distributorship in Louisville, paid taxes, invested in the community and provided well-paying jobs to Kentuckians for almost four decades,” said Bob Kelley, Anheuser-Busch region vice president for sales. “It is unfortunate that instead of making investments to grow our business in Kentucky, we have to take this action.”
This transaction should not affect consumers in any way. In fact, there have never been more choices for beer consumers – including those in Kentucky where the craft beer industry is booming.
“Given the significant investment Anheuser-Busch has made in our brands, we should have a say in how our products are delivered to customers. In that regard, we share the same commitment to ensuring brand quality throughout the distribution chain as any other manufacturer or distributor would. Our experience in Louisville bears that out,” Kelley said.
For more than 160 years, Anheuser-Busch and its world-class brewmasters have carried on a legacy of brewing America’s most-popular beers. Starting with the finest, all-natural ingredients sourced from Anheuser-Busch’s family of growers, every batch is crafted using the same exacting standards and time-honored traditions passed down through generations of proud Anheuser-Busch brewmasters and employees. Best known for its fine American-style lagers, Budweiser and Bud Light, the company’s beers lead numerous beer segments and combined hold 47.2 percent share of the U.S. beer market. Anheuser-Busch is the U.S. arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev and operates 14 local breweries, 17 distributorships and 23 agricultural and packaging facilities across the United States, representing a capital investment of more than $15.5 billion. Its flagship brewery remains in St. Louis, Mo., and is among the global company’s largest and most technologically capable breweries. Visitor and special beermaster tours are available at its St. Louis and four other Anheuser-Busch breweries. For more information, visit www.anheuser-busch.com.