Anheuser-Busch Files Motions to Unseal Complaint, Summary Judgement
Anheuser-Busch filed two motions Tuesday night in its ongoing lawsuit with MillerCoors in an effort to unseal its heavily redacted counterclaim accusing its top competitor of stealing its trade secrets and receive a summary judgement.
“As we said last week, the discovery process in this litigation has been enlightening, as it revealed the root of our allegation that MillerCoors misappropriated our trade secrets, which MillerCoors has not denied,” A-B said in a statement.
In a counterclaim filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin last week, A-B alleged that two former employees who now work for MillerCoors and its parent company Molson Coors had either revealed trade secrets to their current employer or received confidential information from current A-B employees regarding the recipes for Bud Light and Michelob Ultra.
A-B had asked MillerCoors to unseal its heavily redacted 66-page counterclaim from last week. When that request was rebuffed, A-B asked the court to unseal the document. A hearing on the motion to unseal is scheduled for next Thursday.
The legal battle began in March, when MillerCoors sued A-B in federal court for deceptive advertising related to the Bud Light Super Bowl commercials calling out the use of corn syrup in Miller Lite and Coors Light. MillerCoors has said corn syrup is used in the brewing of Miller Lite and Coors Light, but is not included in the final product. A-B claimed that it has tested both beers and “confirmed that corn syrup is in the finished” products of both beers, the company said in a statement.
In light of this information, A-B has filed a motion requesting summary judgement for the case to be decided without proceeding to trial.
“MillerCoors original case is completely without merit and should be decided in our favor. MillerCoors may not have liked the ads but the campaign was not misleading,” A-B said in its statement.
District Judge William M. Conley issued a preliminary injunction today that upholds previous rulings that bar A-B from using “no corn syrup” and its related icon on its packaging or making various references to corn syrup, Miller Lite or Coors Light in commercials, print ads and on social media.
In a statement, MillerCoors said:
“Today’s action by the court once again forces Anheuser Busch to change the Bud Light packaging, bars them from running some of the Bud Light TV ads, bars them from erecting some of the Bud Light billboards and bars some of their social media posts. We have won three major rulings in this case already, and we are going to continue holding Anheuser Busch accountable for intentionally misleading American consumers.”
Craft Beer Cellar Hires Franchise Owner as COO
Massachusetts-headquartered retail chain Craft Beer Cellar announced today that it has hired Tatum Stewart as its chief operating officer.
Stewart owns a Craft Beer Cellar franchise in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and she will report to CEO Suzanne Schalow in her new role.
“My role will be focused on the overall management of day-to-day operations, development of strategic plans to elevate the brand, and to provide support to our Craft Beer Cellar community,” Stewart said in a press release.
Craft Beer Cellar, which Schalow and Kate Baker founded in 2010 in Belmont, Massachusetts, has 27 locations in 15 states. According to the release, the COO role was prioritized by a newly installed board of directors after Schalow and Baker came under fire for the closure of several stores.
“With the guidance of a few mentors, the realization of a need to step back from the front lines became ultimately clear,” Schalow said in the release. “I, like Tatum, look forward to assuming my new responsibilities and and focusing on my strengths.”
Stewart will continue to operate the Plymouth franchise, and she has hired extra staff there in order to focus on her COO duties.
Colorado’s Dad & Dude’s Closes
Aurora, Colorado-based Dad & Dude’s Breweria closed on October 21, according to Denver alt-weekly newspaper Westword.
Dad and Dude’s made headlines in 2016 when it became the first brewery in the country to receive approval to brew a CBD-infused beer from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Lighthouse Strategies’s Cannabiniers, a California-based company specializing in beverages infused with THC and CBD, reportedly acquired the company in March, however, founder and CEO Michael Hayford told Brewbound in August that the deal had not closed.
The future of the Dad & Dude’s brand and its products is unclear. Requests for comment from Dad & Dude’s and Cannabiniers were unreturned.
Smithsonian to Open Beer Industry Exhibit
A new exhibit that the Smithsonian National Museum of American History will highlight beer and its history in the U.S. “Brewing a Revolution” will join the museum’s permanent “FOOD: Transforming the American Table” exhibit on Friday, October 25.
“Visitors will see artifacts, archival materials and photographs that originated in the homebrewing and microbrewing movements of California and Colorado in the 1960s through 1980s — the beginning of the craft beer ‘revolution,’” according to a press release.
Key artifacts on display include the coveralls of former Anchor Brewing owner Fritz Maytag’, a homebrewing spoon that belonged to Brewers Association founder Charlie Papazian, and a travel notebook that belonged to New Belgium Brewing co-founders Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch.
The opening of the display will be showcased in November during an event for Smithsonian Food History Weekend. “The Last Call: Brewing History After-Hours” takes place on Friday, November 8 and features Maytag, Papazian, Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman, and University of California, Davis professor emeritus Michael Lewis.
Empire Brewing Brewpub Closed, Farmstead Brewery Sold at Auction
Empire Brewing’s Syracuse, New York brewpub closed last week after its owner defaulted on rent, according to a report on Syracuse.com.
Empire’s brewpub opened in Syracuse’s Armory Square in 1994, making it one of central New York’s first craft brewers. Its affiliate, Empire Farmstead Brewery, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August and agreed to a sale to Wisconsin-based Burnett Dairy Cooperative for $3.25 million. However, Syracuse-area Feldmeier Equipment Company outbid Burnett with $3.44 million bid in a bankruptcy auction on Monday, according to Syracuse.com.
While the brewpub and farm brewery have the same name and parent company, they were separate business entities.
Braxton Brewing’s Vive to be Official Hard Seltzer of the Indiana Pacers
Braxton Brewing Company’s Vive Hard Seltzer is now the official hard seltzer of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, a move that brings the brand into Indiana and continues its string of sponsorships of professional sports teams.
The product will be available in 16 oz. cans at the Pacers’ arena, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, in Indianapolis. Cans will be available at off-premise retailers in Indiana in early November.
In addition to the Pacers, Braxton has struck partnership deals for Vive with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets and MLS’ FC Cincinnati.
“With a fast upward trajectory, Vive continues to establish itself as a leader within the hard seltzer category,” a press release said.
Ex-BrewDog CEO Launches CBD Beverage Line
Former BrewDog USA CEO Tanisha Robinson will launch a line of sparkling, CBD-infused drinks, according to a report from Columbus Alive.
BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie will invest in Robinson’s new company, W*nder.
Robinson was tapped to lead the Scotland-headquartered craft brewery’s U.S. operations in 2017.
W*nder plans to donate 4.20% of profits to investments in entrepreneurs in communities that cannabis prohibition has harmed, according to the outlet. It will launch with four flavors with pop culture-inspired names: Breakfast Club, which has blood orange, mint and ginger; Born to Run, which has lemon and rosemary; Fast Times, which has cucumber, mint and lime; and Night Moves, which has blueberry and basil.