This is the story of the radical intervention carried out by the Thatcher administration in response to 1986-89 Monopolies and Mergers Commission inquiry into brewing. It describes the creation of big brewers, the official investigations into what many saw as an uncompetitive structure and the damaging consequences for consumers and licensees.
JOHN SPICER has worked in the drinks industry for most of his career, first, as a sales forecasting analyst with Whitbread, and then as a stockbroking analyst covering brewers and distillers. He worked in finance for eighteen years spending the latter half at UBS Warburg, and for nearly a decade he was rated the No. 1 drinks sector analyst in the Extel Annual Survey and the Institutional Investor European Research Survey. In 1993 he served as Special Adviser to the Parliamentary Agriculture Select Committee during its inquiry into the effect of the Beer Orders, and in 2001 as an expert witness in a trial concerning the beer tie, which went all the way to the House of Lords. He now conducts specialist consultancy work. CHRIS THURMAN MBE joined the Brewers' Society in 1970 to establish a department responsible for economics and statistics. He was fully involved in the Price Commission, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) and other official inquiries into breweries, and attended all the hearings of the MMC leading up to the 1989 Supply of Beer report. He received an MBE for services to the brewing industry in 1991. JOHN WALTERS specialised in analysing and researching the drinks and pubs industry from 1970 until his retirement in 2002, assessing and commenting on the multitude of official enquiries into the traditional integrated brewing industry, and the demise of a large part of that industry in the wake of the 1989 Beer Orders. In retirement he has written two editions of a 'Directory of UK Brewing and Pub Companies', and has maintained regular contact with former industry leaders. SIMON WARD has spent most of his working life in the drinks and leisure industry, principally with Whitbread, for whom he worked from 1972 until 2001. During this period he served at various times as Strategy Director, Public Affairs Director and a member of the Executive Committee. Subsequently he has been a consultant and Director of Public Affairs for the pub company, Mitchells & Butlers. Simon has extensive experience of working with Whitehall, Westminster and the UK and EU competition authorities, and from 1999 to 2004 he served on the Government's Better Regulation Task Force.
The 'Big Six' Brewers and the Early Investigations Milestones on the Road to a Monopoly Reference The State of Affairs in 1985 The OFT Prepares its Case The Conduct of the Inquiry The MMC Receives the Evidence Radical Change Proposed Mixed Reactions to the Report The Government Confronts the Recommendations The Beer Orders Emerge Complying with the Orders Four More Reviews The Big Brewers Fall into Foreign Hands The Regionals React Pub Companies and Licensees Prices and Choice The Beer Market The Beer Orders are Revoked Pubcos Move Centre Stage Summary and Conclusions What If?