Last Call: Tivoli Sues Montucky Cold Snacks Over Brand Rights; Trump Trade War with China Escalates

Tivoli Files Lawsuit Against Montucky Cold Snacks

As Denver-based Tivoli Brewing prepares to shut down its distribution business in the next month or so, the company has also filed a lawsuit against one of its suppliers, Montucky Cold Snacks, over the transfer of its distribution rights, reported Business Den.

According to the lawsuit, Elite Brands of Colorado and High Country Beverage had agreed to pay a total of $410,960 for Montucky’s distribution rights. However, the Montana-headquartered beer company refused the transfer and instead chose Breakthru Beverage as its next wholesaler.

“Although Tivoli intends to close its operations, it will continue to maintain its operations and distribute Montucky’s product until it is fairly and contractually compensated for the distribution rights it owns,” the lawsuit stated.

Meanwhile, Montucky co-owner Chad Zeitner told the outlet that Tivoli’s services had been subpar, but the company stuck with them, and now his business is being left “high and dry.”

“They do not have empirical rights without our consent to switch us to a new distributor,” he said.

As Brewbound reported last month, Tivoli CEO Ken Hehir decided to shut down the company’s distribution arm in order to focus on brewing while transferring its own rights to Elite Brands and High Country.

China Imposes $34 Billion in Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S.

President Trump’s $34 billion tariffs on Chinese goods went into effect early Friday, and China has already retaliated with its own $34 billion in tariffs on 545 U.S. goods, including automobiles, seafood, beef, dairy and more, according to The New York Times.

China joins Canada, Mexico and the European Union in striking back at the U.S. with tariffs, some of which are intended at targeting Midwestern communities that voted for Trump, the Washington Post reported.

Thus far, Trump has put duties on $85 billion worth of imports, including levying 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

The president has also threatened to slap another $400 billion in tariffs on Chinese products.

Jake Leinenkugel Seeks Medical Marijuana Study for Military Vets

In January, President Donald Trump tapped Jake Leinenkugel, the former president of Molson Coors-owned Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co., as his senior advisor to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Leinenkugel has since used the position to encourage the VA to study the benefits of medical marijuana for “100 disabled volunteer PTSD veterans,” according to Marijuana Moment.

In a June 15 email titled “Big Bold Ideas,” Leinenkugel wrote that “thousands of Veterans claim their legal/illegal use of cannabis has made dramatic changes in their well-being. Many claiming it saved their lives and got them off all opioids and most of their prescribed drugs used by the VA.”

“I would think we would be all for this,” Scott Blackburn, who at that time served as the VA’s interim deputy secretary.

According to Marijuana Moment, it’s unclear if the discussion advanced beyond the email exchange. However, VA officials have previously blocked efforts to study the potential medicinal benefits of marijuana and its leadership has also banned allowing veterans to participate in state medical marijuana programs.

New Belgium Joins American Hemp Campaign

Fort Collins-headquartered New Belgium Brewing is partnering with Willie Nelson’s Cannabis Company and Vote Hemp in the recently launched “‘American Hemp Campaign” in order to rally support to change federal and state laws to allow commercial hemp growing in the U.S., according to a press release.

New Belgium’s involvement shouldn’t come as a surprise: The Colorado-headquartered beer company launched The Hemperor HPA, a year-round release with hemp flavors and aromas, in the spring.

“Beer is an agricultural product and we see hemp as a potentially game-changing ingredient in brewing, so we are proud to take a stand along with Willie and the Vote Hemp folks to get these laws updated to benefit beer drinkers and farmers across the country,” New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer said, via a press release.

According to the Hemp Business Journal, about $820 million in hemp products were sold in the U.S. last year, and that figure is projected to hit $1.9 billion by 2022.

A-B Again Looks to Sell German Beer Brands

After CK Corporate Finance failed to to complete an acquisition of the Hasseroeder and Diebels brands, Anheuser-Busch InBev has resumed its attempts to offload the German heritage beer brands, according to Reuters.

CK Corporate Finance had agreed to acquire the brands and brewing facilities in January. However, in a statement earlier this week, A-B Inbev Deutschland announced: “CK Corporate Finance Group has so far not been able to meet all the contractual conditions to complete the transaction by mid-2018.”

H-E-B Begins Beer and Wine Delivery

Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B has begun offering beer and wine delivery via its on-demand delivery service, Favor, according to a press release.

Favor, which H-E-B acquired in February, currently offers 1-hour beer and wine delivery in San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi and Houston. Through Labor Day, beer and wine deliveries are being offered free of charge with no minimum order.

H-E-B plans to eventually roll out the service to more than 30 Texas cities.

Delaware Lawmakers Push to Ban Powdered Alcohol

Delaware lawmakers have voted to outlaw the manufacture, sale and use of powdered alcoholic beverages, according to the Associated Press. Gov. John Carney must now decide whether Delaware becomes the 37th state to officially ban powdered alcohol.

Beavertown Offers Refunds to Beer Festival

Several breweries — including England’s Cloudwater Brew Co., San Diego’s Modern Times and Austin’s Jester King — citing Beavertown Brewery’s minority sale to Heineken International B.V. last month, have since pulled out of the U.K. brewery’s “Beavertown Extravaganza” beer festival.

According to Beavertown, about half of the breweries that had previously committed to pour at the festival slated for September 7-8 have since withdrawn. However, the festival will go on with more than 40 breweries pouring.

Through July 20, Beavertown is offering full refunds to ticket holders who no longer wish to attend the event. And for ticket holders who still plan to attend the festival, the beer company will give them a £20 refund.

“Beavertown and the remaining attending breweries are committed to making The Beavertown Extravaganza a wicked party and we can’t wait to have a beer with all of you who still wish to attend down at Printworks,” the company wrote on its blog.

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