The brewers are becoming deal junkies and forfeiting control of their brands to the multiple grocers. Landmark's trading director Martin Williams had this harsh message for them at the annual Federation of Wholesale Distributors' Drinksummit conference in St Albans this week. He said they had thrown out the principles of category management and ECR and warned the wholesalers and independents could not stand by while their markets were undermined. He said: "The biggest threat to our customers now is the suppliers losing control of effective brand ownership and their selling prices in the multiples. "The suppliers often accuse us of being deal junkies, but they are the ones going for the big deals." He said there was no reason for the £12.99 24 packs of major brands that were in major multiples pre Christmas. Even now there are still unbeatable deals on most of the major brands including Stella Artois, Budweiser and Beck's. "Carling's sales in multiples were 104% up at Christmas. This and the full case sales through the multiples are the biggest concerns for our sector." Williams called for radical action: "Should we look for alternative brands to offer our customers? This might be easier if we cannot compete with the rest of the market." He pointed out own label still only accounted for 10% of Landmark's business. Williams was supported by Rod Stevens, Winerite's buying director, who said: "Are the multiples hammering nails into the drinks distributors' coffins? They are selling brands at below our costs. Suppliers must not give this kind of ammunition to their large retail customers. The consequences will be dramatic for us and for them." {{NEWS }}