The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Court this week revived a lawsuit filed by Mountain Crest SRL LLC claiming that Anheuser-Busch InBev and Molson Coors Brewing Co. restricted beer imports from the United States to Ontario, Canada, according to Law 360.
Mountain Crest, the company behind Minhas Craft Brewery, filed the lawsuit in 2017. The suit alleges the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) gave an unfair advantage to The Beer Store, a retail chain majority-owned by subsidiaries of both Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors. Under a so-called “six-pack rule,” exporters had to pay to use this retailer in order to export 12- or 24-packs. However, Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors were both exempt from the fees.
A three-judge panel ruled that some of Mountain Crest’s claims held up “because they don’t relate to the actions of foreign governments,” while some are blocked by the act of state doctrine, the outlet reported.
Mountain Crest requested the court undo a rule that blocked LCBO, a government-run organization, from selling beer in packages larger than 6-packs, though the agreements to create this rule were deemed an “official act.” However, an amended complaint alleged that Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors onspired to bring about this agreement.
The panel stated that “holding Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors liable for their antecedent and allegedly deliberate acts to bring about the 6-pack rule and requiring them to pay damages to Mountain Crest would not, on its face, invalidate Ontario’s chosen regulatory scheme.”
According to the panel, the issue is also “further complicated,” due to the fact that the 6-pack rule as recently canceled.
In a statement, Anheuser-Busch called the remaining allegations “completely without merit.”
About Minhas Craft Brewery
Based in Monroe, Wisconsin, the brewery has been owned over the last 160 years by some of the most prominent citizens of the area. They were 1st or 2nd generation immigrants, tracing their origins from Switzerland, France, Britain, Germany and Denmark. Nearly all of the brewery’s production is exported to Canada.
About Molson Coors
The Molson Coors Brewing Company is a multinational brewing company, formed in 2005 by the merger of Molson of Canada, and Coors of the United States.
While the company is incorporated in the United States, it is traded on stock exchanges in both the United States and Canada, and control is equally shared between the Molson and Coors families.
Molson Coors expanded significantly after the merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller in October 2016. This was achieved because during the plans for the merger, SABMiller had agreed to divest itself of the Miller brands by selling its stake in MillerCoors to Molson Coors.
Today, Molson Coors is the world’s seventh largest brewer by volume.