Friday 30 October 2020

Heineken fined €2.2m by British regulator for putting pressure on pub landlords

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch brewing giant Heineken has been fined €2.2m  by British industry watchdog PCA for pressurising pub landlords to sell ‘unreasonable levels’ of the brand’s beer and ciders, the BBC reports.

Stars Pubs and Bars, part of the Heineken group, owns a number of pubs in the UK which sell its beers under a so-called tied house system which limits the number of other brands pubs can offer. Landlords can, however, choose to expand the number of brands they are selling in exchange for an increase in rent.

Heineken has now been found guilty of forcing pub landlords who want to opt for this possibility to sell ‘unreasonable levels’ of its products folowing a report by the PCA’s Fiona Dickie.

Dickie, whose investigation covered alleged infringements by Heineken between 2016 and 2019, said her report is a ‘game changer which demonstrates that the regulator will act robustly  to protect the rights that parliament has given to tied tenants.’

 

The director of Star Pubs & Bars, Lawson Mountstevens, said the decision was ‘deeply frustrating’ and that the company is considering an appeal.

‘We have been transparent in our dealings with the pubs from the start, asking the regulator for advice on the conditions we should offer to licensees but they consistently refused to react to these requests,’ broadcaster Nos quoted him as saying.

However, the PCA called the company’s efforts to comply with the rules ‘for the most part inadequate and not credible,’ the BBC said.

Mountstevens also said the fine would harm pubs and licensees at a time of financial crisis. Heineken itself already stands to make a net loss of €300m on its second quarter of the year because of the coronavirus crisis.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.