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Anheuser applauds verdict in Maris trial.

Anheuser-Busch officials say that their victory in the federal antitrust case brought by Maris Distributing Co. is a strong endorsement of the company's contract with its wholesalers. "This reinforces what we have always maintained-our wholesaler agreement is fair, equitable and in compliance with all laws," said Stephen K. Lambright, Anheuser-Busch general counsel.

After a seven-week trial, a ten-member jury took about four hours to rule in favor of Anheuser-Busch in the action. Maris had challenged a provision in the contract that prohibits the public ownership of company distributorships. The jury ruled the provision does not harm competition and therefore is not an antitrust violation.

"The most successful wholesalers are independent, successful business people who are leading citizens in their communities," Lambright said. "Community leaders who know their local markets and have a personal relationship with customers. Private ownership facilitates this type of business relationship in local communities."

Lambright asserted that private ownership can keep beer prices down because wholesalers aren't faced with the financial obligations of public companies. He said A-B has a program that provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to borrow money and build up a wholesalership themselves.
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Title Annotation:Maris Distributing Co. v Anheuser-Busch
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 4, 2000
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