13,000 NYC Bodegas Petition Against Beer Merger, Fear Price Surge

December 19, 2014 | Prachi Gupta

Bodegas aren’t always the cheapest, but they are certainly the most convenient place to buy beer in New York: New Yorkers buy 65 percent of their beer at the small vendor shops. But shop owners fear that may change if a merger between Manhattan Beer Distributors and Phoenix Beehive Beverages, two of the city’s three largest distributors, comes to fruition. Together, they would control about 60 percent to 80 percent of the beer in New York City, including brands like Coors, Corona, Heineken, and Miller. The deal is expected to be signed “within days,” according to a spokesperson for Manhattan Beer.

13,000 bodegas and 100 independent suppliers have requesting the Justice Department intervene, making their case with a 23-page report that calls the merger a monopoly, an effort they claim has the attention of New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as well. The group, which included Bronx Assemblyman Jose Rivera and a rep from the New York Association of Grocery Stores, held a press conference on Wednesday denouncing the “monopoly” on beer and its implications.

“[Bodegas] provide a lot of jobs,” Bronx Assemblyman Jose Rivera said. “We cannot do anything but help them stay alive.”

(Photo: nick p)