Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., which is under pressure from black groups to increase minority ownership of its beer distributorships, said yesterday that it has reached an agreement in principle to sell its District of Columbia distributorship to the unit's general manager and another company executive. No sale price was disclosed.
Wayman F. Smith, vice president of corporate affairs at the St. Louis-based brewer of Budweiser, Michelob and other brands, said the planned sale had nothing to with a boycott of the company begun earlier this year by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Operation PUSH organization.
"From a standpoint of our minority distributorship program, it represents one more step in a fairly long trail," Smith said.
The D.C. distributorship -- which covers only the District -- will be purchased by a group headed by Norman G. Mayfield, its general manager, and Ron Wiese, a St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch executive who formerly worked in the D.C. operation. Smith said minority-owned banks probably will be involved in financing.
About half a dozen of Anheuser-Busch's 950 distributorships are minority-owned. In promoting the boycott of the company, Jackson has complained that the amount of black involvement in Anheuser-Busch's operations does not reflect the large amount of the company's products consumed by minority customers. But the company says it has been working for years to increase minority ownership of dealerships and says few other brewers have any black-owned distributorships.