High listing fees are to blame for the lack of access to supermarkets experienced by smaller brewers, according to Camra's submission to the Competition Commission's grocery sector inquiry.
"A slotting allowance can be a barrier to entry for smaller brewers," said the letter from Iain Loe, research and information manager, Camra.
"It is difficult to determine how common fees are for listing a new supplier, but if charges are made they would penalise the smaller brewer as the size of fees are excessive for a smaller producer." Listing fees are banned under the OFT code of conduct.
The submission, dated 28 March, says more than half of local brewers do not trade with a supermarket, which Loe blamed on prices paid by supermarkets.
"According to a recent industry report, more than 90% of all local brewers produce and market a bottled beer or will do so by the end of 2007.
"Clearly there is something preventing smaller brewers from gaining access to the major supermarket shelves."
The Camra submission coincided with calls for those in the wine trade to talk to the Commission.
Peter Darbyshire, MD, Thierry's Wine Services, who submitted a letter to the enquiry last December, said: "Silence is the least helpful tactic, whatever your view. "As a supplier you should stand up and be counted."
Bibendum Wine also said it had spoken to the Commission but criticised the focus of its hearing because Tesco was not mentioned once.
"The main focus seemed to be smaller retailers and the cash & carry and convenience segment," said Richard Cochrane, off-trade manager. "This seems at odds with the objective of the Commission."
Steve Barton, director, Brand Phoenix, said he was considering making a submission and "would highlight the practice of extending payment terms".