What's In Store

Queen City Q boycotts Anheuser-Busch beers

An Oct. 13 file photo of bottles of Budweiser beer in a shop window in London.
An Oct. 13 file photo of bottles of Budweiser beer in a shop window in London. AP

Charlotte restaurant chain Queen City Q said Tuesday it will no longer sell beers associated with Anheuser-Busch InBev.

The boycott means no more Goose Island, Budweiser, Shock Top or any of the other beverage giant’s beers to wash down the Queen City Q’s Southern-style barbecue at its current Charlotte locations or at future locations, the restaurant said in a statement.

Queen City Q cited a Wall Street Journal story from earlier this month that suggested AB InBev is rewarding distributors who focus on its beers while limiting supply from craft brewers. AB InBev estimates that participating distributors would receive an average annual benefit of $200,000 each, according to the story.

The restaurant’s managing partner, Bryan Meredith, said AB InBev is “intentionally and willfully” harming the craft beer industry, which Queen City Q has long supported, and his restaurants won’t do business with companies who act “like bullies.”

“In the grand scheme of things, I’m sure Anheuser-Busch could care less about me. I don’t sell enough to even be a blip on their radar. The message I hope they get is if 100 other people like me do this, they’re going to notice it at some point,” Meredith said.

In a statement, Anheuser-Busch said the incentive program is voluntary and doesn’t discourage the sale of competing beers. “Nothing in the program prevents distribution of other brands,” said Bob Tallett, the brewer’s vice president for business and wholesaler development. “This program simply incentivizes our distributors for focus and performance in today’s already highly competitive market.”

Meredith added that Queen City Q already sells a lot of craft beer – about half of the 44 taps at its uptown location serve Charlotte-made beer, for example. Meredith said the company still plans to exceed $1 million in beer sales in 2016.

Queen City Q currently operates restaurants in uptown Charlotte, Matthews and Concord, with another slated to open in Ballantyne in January. The barbecue chain also operates concession stands inside BB&T Ballpark and Time Warner Cable Arena.