During the first trimester of 2006, Inbev replaced its standard 25-centiliter Jupiler glasses by new ones that are 10 percent larger. In August 2006, a number of pub owners filed a complaint, accompanied by a request for interim measures, against Inbev for alleged abuse of dominance.
The pub owners alleged that Inbev abused its dominance by introducing new Jupiler glasses without prior discussion with the sector and by refusing to continue supplying the old 25-centiliter glasses. As a result of price increases which Inbev had just introduced at the time, the pub owners claimed they would not be able to pass on the cost associated with the use of larger glasses to the end consumer.
The pub owners' request for interim measures was rejected by the Competition Prosecutor General on 24 January 2007 on the ground that the conditions for interim relief were not met (Belgian Competition law report 2007/Q1), but an appeal against this decision is still pending.
On 27 October 2009, the College of Competition Prosecutors also rejected the pub owners' claim on the merits because it was unfounded. In line with the Commission's and the Competition Council's existing decisional practice, the Competition Prosecutors stated that the Belgian market for the production and selling of beer was the relevant market. Inbev was found to be dominant on this market. However, the Prosecutors held that the introduction of the new beer glasses by Inbev did not amount to an abuse of dominance as the fact that pub owners could not pass the additional cost to their end-customers should not be attributed to Inbev. Also, they found that each pub owner had the freedom to adapt him/herself to the new situation, in particular in light of the timing of the respective announcements by Inbev to increase its prices and introduce larger glasses. Moreover, the Competition Prosecutors pointed out that Inbev had also without any problems introduced new glasses in the Netherlands, where it is not dominant, and that this could be an indication that Inbev's behaviour should be considered as being part of its normal way of running a company (and not as an abuse of dominance).