MILWAUKEE – Jury deliberations begin today, after nine days of testimony and nearly two years after Pabst Brewing filed a lawsuit against parent company MillerCoors.
The suit filed after Miller said they want to part ways with several years left on their contract to brew beers like Schlitz and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
As the deal’s currently structured, MillerCoors will brew beer for Pabst until 2025, however they want to cut three years off that plan in an effort to rescale their business, the argument being that brewing Pabst is no longer financially viable.
If the jury sides with MillerCoors, the deal can dissolve in 2022. Pabst’s argument is that if the jury supports MillerCoors, Pabst may have to stop production altogether.
A verdict is expected this week.
UPDATE (2:50 p.m.): A MillerCoors spokesperson shared this statement, which we are adding in full.
“Under our brewing agreement, we determine whether we will have sufficient capacity to continue to brew Pabst products during any renewal term. In 2015, we were required to predict capacity for 2025 and did not feel we could make that commitment. We informed Pabst of that decision and provided them with seven years to make other arrangements.”
UPDATE (1:54 p.m.): A Pabst spokesperson shared this statement, which we are adding in full.
“Since 1844, Pabst has been offering authentic, great tasting and affordable beers to all Americans. From our flagship brand, Pabst Blue Ribbon, to our local legends, which include Rainier, Lone Star, Old Style, Stag, Stroh, Natty Boh, Olympia, and others – these iconic brands all have rich histories and deep roots in communities across the country. We are deeply disappointed that MillerCoors, the U.S. subsidiary of multinational brewing conglomerate Molson Coors, has willfully breached our 19-year agreement in an effort to stomp out the competition.
Even though MillerCoors’ market power is much larger than Pabst’s, we will not allow this industry bully to push us around. We are confident that the court will see MillerCoors’ fabricated “capacity” concerns for what they are: a thinly veiled, bad faith attempt to unlawfully hurt a competitor.”