C&G Distributing Co. Inc. in Lima and Anheuser-Busch InBev announced a deal today (May 17) for the wholesale distributorship to be purchased by the brewer. Financial terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in the near future, were not disclosed.
The Cecala and Guagenti families have owned and operated C&G for more than 60 years, and have been selling Anheuser-Busch products in a nine-county area in west central Ohio since 1967.
"This investment reinforces our commitment to providing local retailers with exemplary service and consumers with a broad portfolio of brands and unique beers to enjoy," Anheuser-Busch Regional Sales Vice President Kevin Feehan said in a prepared statement. "For more than 100 years, Anheuser-Busch has been dedicated to adding value to, and providing competition in, the wholesale tier. We look forward to growing our brands and enhancing competition in this market, which will benefit west-central Ohio retailers and consumers."
Ohio lawmakers recently passed legislation, Senate Bill 48, barring big brewers from owning distributors -- a move that Anheuser-Busch protested.
"Substitute SB 48 should have no impact on the deal as we fully expect to complete this transaction prior to the legislation’s effective date," Christine Czernejewski, director of communications-government affairs, said in an email. "However, we continue to believe the provision in Substitute SB 48 that will prohibit a wholesale distributorship from selling to a brewer will have a significant impact on our company and those wholesalers who want to sell. This provision restricts free-market competition and creates a climate of uncertainty that will negatively impact future economic investment in the state."
Anheuser-Busch has been in a fight with Illinois lawmakers over a similar issue. (To read a story from Chicago Crain's Business, click here.)
Anheuser-Busch has strong ties to Ohio. The company has a brewery in Columbus and also operates A-B Sales of Canton, serving more than 1,000 restaurants, bars, convenience and grocery stores in Stark, Tuscarawas, Carroll, Wayne and Holmes counties. Between the two facilities, Anheuser-Busch has nearly 800 employees in the state.