The Federation of Wholesale Distributors has asked the government to stop superstores selling large quantities of cheap beer to independent retailers. In its response to the government's licensing White Paper, the FWD says that sales "through the back door" distort the market and threaten the independents' share of it. FWD, which claims its members supply 500,000 businesses, claims breweries offload overcapacity to supermarket chains at discounted prices during the Christmas peak. Alan Toft, director general of FWD, said: "These volumes are then the subject of supermarket price wars with big brands offered well below wholesale price. "This will be particularly noticeable this year with the entry of Interbrew to the market." Toft added that independent retailers can cherrypick supermarket deals to re-sell, inadvertently contributing to the multiple domination of the marketplace. The FWD is suggesting that the government should implement mechanisms to protect its territory, forcing suppliers to offer the same bargains to wholesalers as supermarkets, and banning supermarket chains from selling beer in wholesale quantities. The FWD report also queries proposals to exempt wholesalers from licensing if they sell only to licensed retailers or caterers. Toft said: "The cost of this would be enormous since it means wholesalers would be policing their customers!" It says all delivered depots and cash and carries are licensed and should be allowed to sell to registered customers whether or not these customers are licensed. {{NEWS }}

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