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Pabst, MillerCoors Are Going to Court

Pabst says its very existence relies on MillerCoors
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 11, 2018 3:50 PM CST
In this photo taken on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Coors Light are stacked next to each other in a Milwaukee liquor store.   (AP Photo/Ivan Moreno)

(Newser) – Pabst Brewing Company and MillerCoors are going to trial, with hipster favorite Pabst contending that MillerCoors wants to put it out of business by ending a longstanding partnership through which it brews Pabst's beers, the AP reports. The case has high stakes for Pabst, whose lawyers argue that the company's very existence relies on the partnership with Chicago-based MillerCoors, which produces, packages, and ships nearly all its products, which include Pabst Blue Ribbon, Old Milwaukee, Natty Boh, and Lone Star. MillerCoors, meanwhile, says it's not obligated to continue brewing for Pabst and that Pabst doesn't want to pay enough to justify doing so. The trial in Milwaukee County Circuit Court begins Monday and is scheduled through Nov. 30.

Pabst's attorneys say MillerCoors LLC is lying about its brewing capacity to break away from Pabst and capture its share of the cheap beer market by disrupting Pabst's ability to compete. At a March hearing in which MillerCoors tried to have the lawsuit dismissed, Pabst attorney Adam Paris said "stunning documents" obtained from MillerCoors show that it went as far as hiring a consultant to "figure out ways to get rid of us." MillerCoors has called that a mischaracterization of the consultant's work. The 1999 agreement between MillerCoors and Pabst, which was founded in Milwaukee in 1844 but is now headquartered in LA, expires in 2020 but provides for two possible five-year extensions. The companies dispute how the extensions should be negotiated. Click for more, or see the list of top-selling US beers.

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