|Now an InBev brand, this was |
once a welcome sight in pubs
There is a tiny brewery in Wandsworth called Belleville which produces American-style cask beers. The brewery was started in January this year by a group of friends who had children at the Belleville Primary School, and they sell their beer to local pubs. AB InBev's lawyers have sent the brewery a letter giving Belleville 28 days to stop using the Belleville name because, they claim, it could be confused with the products of their Belgian subsidiary, Belle-Vue which brews lambic beers. For the world's biggest multi-national brewing corporation to bully a microbrewery with a five barrel capacity because of a name that is similar but not identical to one their own products is both ludicrous and distasteful in the extreme. Obviously Belleville cannot afford to challenge this demand in court and so are considering changing the brewery's name to Northcote after the road where the school is situated. It just goes to show that if you're rich enough, you can shamelessly be a bully without breaking the law.
Meanwhile in Canada, AB InBev are facing a strike at their Labatts brewery because of serious assaults on the workers' terms, conditions and wages, and which would destroy collective bargaining. In one way, it's obvious why they're doing this, as individuals negotiating their own rates of pay have much less clout than negotiators representing an entire workforce. But it's not obvious in another way, because even AB InBev's own website states that it has more than 200 brands worldwide that in 2012 generated revenue of $39,800,000,000 (US dollars). Any savings from cutting staff wages and terms in Canada must be less than peanuts to this company. It is another example of this rich and powerful corporation engaging in bullying.
If AB InBev were a human, I seriously doubt it would be allowed out unsupervised.
Click here for more on the Labatt's dispute; there's also a petition here.