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Anheuser-Busch Employees No Longer Get Free Beer at Breaks

March 1, 1986

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ It will be coffee breaks, not beer breaks, from now on at Anheuser-Busch breweries.

The tap went dry for more than 9,000 hourly workers at the company’s 11 breweries across the nation Saturday as Anheuser-Busch ended a long-standing tradition of letting employees drink free beer on their breaks.

The tradition is as old at the brewing industry itself, but company officials said times have changed.

″It is a practice which Anheuser-Busch and the brewery workers’ unions have agreed no longer is appropriate in 1986,″ said Jim Morice, a brewery spokesman.

A statement released by the brewer said the beer cutoff is ″consistent with the company’s philosophy of responsibility and moderation in drinking.″

The cutoff was included in national contracts ratified in January 1985 between Anheuser-Busch Inc. and unions at the breweries. Salaried employees gave up their beer fringe benefit last year.

In exchange for giving up the tradition, the production workers have the option of receiving two cases of beer for home consumption monthly or other increases in fringe benefits of comparable value.

Jerry Diekemper, a spokesman for Teamsters Local 1187, which represents bottlers at the St. Louis plant, said many workers may choose to take an extra holiday or other benefits rather than the beer.

Anheuser-Busch has created a national consumer-education campaign aimed at encouraging people to drink responsibly, called ″Know When to Say When.″

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