Competition Concerns in the Greek Beer Market

The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) has recently approved the merger of Mythos Brewery (Carlsberg) and Olympic Brewery (Fix).

This means that at least 85% of the beer market in Greece is now controlled by two foreign multinationals, Carlsberg and Heineken (owner of Athenian Brewery and brands such as Amstel and Alfa) who will dominate the market to the detriment of locally owned breweries or new entrants.

The HCC’s decision, which placed no restrictions on the merger, is a concern for the Greek economy and consumers alike. Rather than taking steps to ensure an open and competitive drinks market that encourages new investment and job creation, the HCC has saddled the Greek consumer with the prospect of continuing high prices and less choice.

The HCC still has to rule on Athenian Brewery’s alleged long-term market abuses (cash payments and other incentives to compel distributors not to sell competing beers).

However, it has chosen not to hold Heineken International responsible for the actions of its Greek subsidiary. By doing so, the HCC has already missed the opportunity to apply effective sanctions that will deter anti-competitive behaviour.

Macedonian Thrace Brewery is a wholly Greek owned brewery.

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