Beer Battle: Idaho distributors fight brewers

Beer Battle: Idaho distributors fight brewers
In this Sunday, March 22, 2009 photo, a man carries two beers back to his seat during a spring training baseball game in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho beer distributors are aiming to forbid beer brewers including giants Miller Coors and Anheuser-Busch Inbev from owning distributorships.

The Idaho Beer and Wine Distributors Association's bill originally failed in the Senate State Affairs Committee on Friday.

But lawmakers reconsidered more than an hour later and said they'll debate possible changes to the measure on the Senate floor.

Distributors fear Miller Coors and Anheuser Busch will move aggressively into the marketplace, using their clout to bend distributors to their will — or force them to sell.

Meanwhile, Brazil-based Anheuser Busch contended at Friday morning's Senate session that Idaho distributors were just seeking to use the Legislature to create an economic advantage that doesn't exist in the marketplace.

Big brewers argue these distributors' bill simply sought to increase their own muscle.