By JANIE HENDERSON and MARK LEVINBERGWASHINGTON — Beer makers are planning to boycott the Olympics because of the ban on commercial beer sales.
A coalition of breweries and beer-tasting establishments have announced they will boycott the games because of what they say is the beer industry’s hypocrisy over the restrictions on beer sales, which came into effect last week.
The International Beer and Mead Association said Thursday that beer makers, restaurants and retailers will stop selling beer after the IOC imposed restrictions on alcohol sales.
The IOC’s decision to ban the sale of beer and wine during the Games, which are scheduled to begin Sept. 8, was an attack on beer consumers who buy the beverages to enhance their socializing during the games.
Beer companies, which have been selling beer for decades in the United States and Europe, say the ban is unfair because beer is the industry’s main source of income and that it will lead to a loss of business.
The American Beverage Association said it is supporting a boycott of the games by its members and that consumers should take the same position.
The groups said that consumers who drink beer or consume wine during sporting events are at higher risk of health problems that may occur in the aftermath of the bans.
The bans have sparked criticism from sports drink companies and the beverage industry.
The American Beverages Association and the International Beverage Institute say they are disappointed by the IOC’s response and are considering their options.
The IOC’s move is another sign of the Olympics’ growing importance in the beer market.
In the U.S., the American Beer Association says it expects the IOC to repeal the restrictions.
The association said it will continue to fight for the Olympics, which will take place Aug. 5-20.
In addition to the U, U.K., Spain and Germany, the IOC has also said it plans to have more than 200 countries participate.
The countries involved in the Olympics are not in the IOC.