Moa CEO Geoff Ross has spoken out about perceived unfairness and aggressive moves by Lion and DB to block independent breweries from restaurants and supermarkets. Ross claims that the swift rise of craft beer has the larger brewers worried. Craft beers accounted for 10 percent of beer consumed in New Zealand in 2016, up from 8.5 percent the year before, according to the ANZ Craft Beer Industry Insights report.

“Now that craft beer is a growth segment and a meaningful part of the beer landscape, that’s when they’ve bought in blocking tactics, where they’ve actively blocked any brand that becomes a threat,” he said.

Both Lion and DB deny the accusations, with Lion external relations manager Genevieve O’Halloran saying that Moa is not mentioned in Lion contracts and that “publicans have their own reasons for choosing not to stock Moa’s portfolio.”

Ross also accused representatives of the two companies of sabotaging Moa in supermarkets, by moving stock to less prominent areas and removing price tags. Lion, DB and Countdown all deny that this has taken place, with Tim Carroll of Countdown noting that shelf space allocated to craft beer had doubled over the last two years.