Britain’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into Heineken’s takeover of pub chain Punch Taverns amid concerns it could limit the number of Yorkshire beers on sale in its pubs.
The Competition and Markets Authority said it is looking into whether the £403m takeover may result in a “substantial“ decrease in competition.
Heineken has vowed to promote Yorkshire ales if it gets the go ahead to buy Punch.
Colin Valentine, the national chairman of Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) said: “Yorkshire pubs should offer a diverse range of good quality beer and should be diverse enough to serve their respective communities.
“Any attempt to monopolise the industries goes against the spirit of the great Yorkshire pub and undermines the ‘local’ in a great local.”
But Heineken said that around 15 per cent of the brands it sells are not owned by Heineken.
A Heineken spokesman said: “If any Punch pubs in Yorkshire were to join our Star Pubs & Bars business, we would welcome them with open arms.
“As far as local Punch pubs are concerned, if our purchase was successful, we would sit down with each licensee and agree the best stock to suit the pub and area.
“Furthermore, we already have great Yorkshire ales in our portfolio, including John Smith’s and Theakstons.”
The watchdog has set a deadline of March 2 for comments on the Punch takeover and is to decide whether to take further action by April 24.