The 1989 Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) Report had been quite explicit as to the motivation behind its proposal that brewers should be allowed to own only up to 2000 on-licensed premises, namely, its authors’ belief that if the tie were broken completely, many small brewers “would withdraw from brewing, concentrate on retailing, and leave the market to domination by national and international brand owners”.1 This was certainly going to be no level playing field, but the possibility that the majors would themselves react in just this way if the 2000 ceiling were implemented, and the effects that their reactions might have on the regionals, apparently weren’t considered.
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- The Regionals React
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