AN industry watchdog has fined Heineken’s pub business £2m for forcing pubs to sell “unreasonable levels” of its own beers and ciders.
The major beer brand runs Star Pubs and Bars, and according to the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA), it “seriously and repeatedly” broke rules for three years after receiving complaints from several pubs that were pressured into selling Heineken brands – which includes Amstel, Birra Moretti and Bulmers cider.
Star Pubs covers 2,500 pubs of which, 1,900 are covered by the PCA in England and Wales.
“The report of my investigation is a game changer. It demonstrates that the regulator can and will act robustly to protect the rights that Parliament has given to tied tenants,” said the PCA’s Fiona Dickie.
“My message is that if anyone previously had any doubts about my resolution to act when I find breaches, they can have no doubt now.”
Speaking after the decision was made to fine the brand £2m for forcing pubs to stock its beers and ciders, Lawson Mountstevens, the company’s managing director, said: “There are many aspects of the report that we fundamentally disagree with and we are actively considering an appeal.
“This penalty is unwarranted and disproportionate, and comes at a time when the entire sector is in serious financial crisis as we work around the clock to support our pubs and licensees to keep their businesses afloat, he concluded.
Star Pubs are said to be considering an appeal.
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