On Feb. 9, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, released a long-awaited report on competition in the alcohol marketplace. The report follows an executive order issued by President Biden last July asking for industry feedback on ways to promote competition in the American economy.
The report, titled “Competition in the Market Place for Beer, Wine, and Spirits,” applauds the rapid growth of small businesses in the alcohol industry while challenging the growth of new participants entering the market. It analyzes how complex regulations may inhibit small businesses from growing and prevent market access to new entrants.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring an economic environment that promotes fairness and competition,” said Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Ben Harris.
Possible solutions identified in the report include strengthening the review of horizontal consolidation, enforcing trade practice rules against exclusionary conduct, and reforming post-prohibition era regulations that stifle access to new participants.
“American consumers, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and workers should not have to suffer under the thumb of a highly concentrated beer industry,” said Attorney General Nathan Kanter of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “Enforcement and regulatory authorities should have the courage to learn and the fortitude necessary to enforce the law and protect competition.”