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Coors 25.8% Anheuser Busch 14.5% Miller 8.5% Lone Star 7.2% All Others 12.7% Shiner: the last independent Beer. . . from page 2 nationally, in volume, and in prime time, it has the added advantage of receiving It isn’t a matter of efficiency and product quality winning out, but of raw economic power. As Fortune put it in a 1972 article on the beer industry, “Theoretically, any company can promote its product by cutting prices; in practice though, only the powerful are able to and in the hands of the powerful, the promotions are devastating weapons.” Indeed. Pearl’s share of the Texas market in 1967 was 18.7 percent, but today it has fallen to about 5 percent. Texas beer drinkers, who used to enjoy ample choice of both flavor and price, are now confronted with a shared monopoly that threatens to eliminate the few remaining Texas brews. Already, Schlitz, Coors, Anheuser-Busch and Miller control 80 percent of beer sales in the state. Pearl claims that its fall and the rise of Schlitz and Anheuser-Busch \(from 22 percent of the Texas market in 1967 to mainly to price fixing by the two industry giants. In a landmark antitrust suit that Pearl filed against them in U.S. District Court in Houston, Anheuser-Busch and Schlitz are charged with conspiring with their wholesale distributors in Texas to sell to retailers below cost in an effort to drive Pearl out of business and monopolize the state’s beer market. Pearl alleges that the nationals subsidize their losses here with profits from other areas of the country where they already have a monopoly position. When the suit was filed in 1971, Pearl claimed that the price-fixing schemes had cost the company $4.7 million in profits, not to mention the market share it lost to the nationals. Federal Judge Carl 0. Bue turned down Pearl’s request for a preliminary injunction against price cutting by the big two in 1971, but said that the Percent of Texas Brewer Market in 1976 dump toxic wastes on any land within fifty miles of the plant gate no permit, no hearing, nothing.” I watched the sun settling over the pines, and leaned back on a stunted oak. It would be nice to sit for an hour, or search for cranefly orchids along clear, rocky creeks, or hike along the ridge under the sandjack oaks and the longleaf pines. But it was not to be. A meeting, it turned out, was scheduled at the Big Thicket Museum in Saratoga. There were even going to be reporters. Back of the envelope On the way down Paul Grubbs explained about the remains of a still he had found by the creek. No white lightning there, he lamented; it had been abandoned years back. But there were always wildcat tracks there, in the sand. Geraldine paused, looking for wildflowers. On the back of an envelope I scratched: 1.Back Herman Adams’ HR 1697. Save your neighborhood from Friendly Local Dumps. 2.Write North American Royalties to get the remains of their road out of the Rosier Unit \(1404 First City East Build3.Prevail on Texas State Parks and Wildlife to buy land in the Big Thicket. At last. What was the holdup? 4.Surely somewhere there are people who could deed wild places in the Thicket to Nature Conservancy or the Hideous Federal Octopus. If TempleEastex can donate 2,000 acres .. . Geraldine brandished a closed gentian, one of Texas’ rarest wildflowers. She had found it under a mossy bank. This is a wonderful place, she exulted. Who, she asked, would have thought we could have gotten this far? I agreed that we had been lucky, but she plunged headlong into the next disaster. She asked if I’d heard what happened to the Hickory Creek Savannah Unit. Wildwood Development had dug ditches 100 feet wide by 10 feet deep at the south and southwest edges of the unit, to protect a newly planned , subdivision. The National Park Service hadn’t taken notice, but the ditches could ruin the unit by ruining its drainage. On the envelope I scratched: 5.Have N.P.S. do hydrological studies of each unit. Then they can’t duck the ditches. Then I tuned it out: all the horror stories, the failures, the human blindness. We made our way to the car and waved goodbye. The sun was slitting orange through the pines. Shadows engulfed the highway. Lights flickered in the honkytonks, the country stores, the windows of paintless shacks up under the pines. In ten minutes it was dark. 0 18 The Texas Observer 0 Solute: Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas Schlitz 31.3%