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Dichello Sues AB; Charges AB Equity Agreement Violates State Law; Should Be Declared “Invalid” – EXPRESS 7/6/20 This lawsuit a long time comin’. Battle between CT AB distrib Dichello and AB going on for yrs. It already went thru many permutations. Prexy John Hall (part of family that owns distrib) not approved as equity agreement manager or successor manager. Several different execs were brought in to run it over the yrs at AB’s insistence. Now Dichello sued AB, charging that AB tried to “force” Dichello to sell and more striking, that AB’s equity agreement itself violates CT law and should be declared “invalid and unenforceable.”
Brewers Assn Hired Marc Sorini as 1st In-House Genl Counsel – CRAFT 7/6/20 In major move, the Brewers Assn hired longtime outside counsel and veteran alc bev atty Marc Sorini to be org’s first in-house general counsel. Tho in the works for some time, this significant hire announced just over a week after BA went thru 2nd round of layoffs, letting go of a number of key, long-time employees. Marc’s going to have a large state guild focus, to help them achieve their priorities,” BA CEO/prexy Bob Pease told Craft Brew News. He will “lead for us on the policy development side,” Bob said, especially on large number of “market access issues" currently "percolating," especially due to Covid.
Big Shoe Finally Drops: TTB Gets $5 Mil Offer in Compromise, Colo Branch Suspensions from AB – EXPRESS 7/9/20 Tho much later than many anticipated, TTB finally hooked big fish, announcing that AB agreed to pay $5-mil offer-in-compromise for slew of trade practice violations, including “sponsorship agreements” with sports and entertainment concessionaires. In addition to OIC, AB’s branches in Denver and Littleton, CO served 4- and 2-day suspensions over terms of agreements with a Denver stadium and a pair of mountain resorts, respectively. Allegations listed by TTB include classic examples of the kind of pay-to-play practices that industry members grumble about in private, but rarely receive much public scrutiny.
Not So Fast: Lakeshore Sues Bang Energy Marketer VPX for Wrongful Termination, PepsiCo for Interference – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 7/8/20 It had appeared VPX transition from Anheuser-Busch distribs to PepsiCo dist system would go relatively smoothly, but that’s not the case in all parts of country. We’d reported on now-resolved legal fracas in Calif. Now it’s Illinois-based Lakeshore Beverage who filed suit yesterday in US District Court in Fla, charging that Bang Energy owner VPX blatantly violated its distribution agreement encompassing Lakeshore territory that includes Chicago metro. It’s seeking compensatory and punitive damages along with costs and attorney’s fees. Suit also charges that PepsiCo engaged in “intentional, unlawful and unjustified interference with Lakeshore’s contractual relationship with VPX and Lakeshore’s customers.”
Is VPX Shooting Itself in Foot with Messy Bang Transition to Pepsi? Alliances Can Run Shorter than Wholesalers’ Bad Memories – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 7/10/20 Bang Energy’s move into Pepsi system so far is going down as one of messier such transitions we’ve seen over the years. We’ve chronicled some of moves and countermoves in recent months, but as lawsuits rain down, they’re providing more detailed glimpse into what aggrieved wholesalers argue are devious machinations to deny them their just settlements and premature incursions by Pepsi and its bottlers into their territories. If some of allegations are correct, it’s hard to fathom what VPX’s game is since, for all its $190-bil size, the bev biz can be a small world and changing circumstances have a way of abruptly realigning allegiances. The stakes are high on several fronts.
Ain’t Just Imports Takin’ A Hit: Export Biz -718K Bbls, -37% thru May; Shipments to Mexico Tank – EXPRESS 7/7/20 Export shipments falling off even more sharply this year than imports, as biggest mkts in free fall. Leading the drop: shipments to Mexico, practically nil in May and down 230,000 bbls, 84% for 5 mos. Then too, shipments to Canada -125K bbls, nearly 50% for 5 mos. And shipments to Chile, the #1 export market YTD thru May, down 218K bbls, also down near 50%. Shipments to Japan and Panama also gettin’ hit hard.
Modern Times Furloughs Follow 2nd Round of Shutdowns in LA and San Diego Counties – CRAFT 7/8/20 Just when it was starting to feel like we’d seen the worst of Covid-19’s impact on craft beer and beyond, latest rounds of on-premise shutdowns in several states likely leading to another difficult stretch. CA’s Modern Times Brewing was forced to furlough “most of our staff” at its LA locale last week and now expects more furloughs in San Diego area locations as well following ruling at midnight that San Diego County will join LA in shutting down indoor eating and drinking, founder and CEO Jacob McKean shared via blog post.
Iris Nova Balances Ecomm, Bricks & Mortar as It Builds Out Brand Base – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 7/9/20 When it first came on scene in 2015, Dirty Lemon marketer Iris Nova made a splash with commitment to all-ecomm biz enabled by text-messaging-based ordering of its elixirs packed in Instagram-worthy bottles. To some longtime bev people, it seemed an ingenious ploy to garner attention for a brand whose future surely lay in bricks & mortar channel, where the real business of America happens. Turns out they were right – and way off, at same time – in manner brought into stark contrast by ongoing pandemic.
Will SAM Lap TAP in Mkt Cap? New All-Time Highs and Lows – EXPRESS 7/10/20 As Boston Beer stock (SAM) reached new all-time highs and Molson Coors (TAP) slipped to new lows, remarkably SAM market cap came within ~$40 mil of TAP. Recall, Boston Beer shipped just 11% of MC total volume in US last yr. But Truly’s got Boston on track for all kinds of new heights currently, even while working thru constant supply chain challenges. Could SAM mkt cap lap TAP sometime in 2d half of 2020?
Boston Beer Sending All Sales Reps Home for Next 2 Wks for Safety/Health Precautions – CRAFT 7/10/20 Unusual times call for unusual measures. Boston Beer sent out memo nationally informing that all Boston Beer sales reps will be pulled out of their respective mkts and asked to stay home for the next 2 wks, multiple sources shared with CBN. Move made as a measure of extra caution in response to latest spikes in Covid-19 cases in mkts thruout the country, we’re told.
Sign Up for the Mid-Yr Webinar from Beer Marketer’s INSIGHTS What a year it’s been… and it’s only halfway over. To help make sense of the seismic shifts in the US beer and beverage industries, join us for Beer & Beyond at the Half 2020, the latest Beer Insights webinar, coming Wednesday, August 12 at 1pm ET. In addition an industry overview, BMI prexy and publisher Benj Steinman will present a deep dive on the hard seltzer segment, and special guest Gerry Khermouch, editor of Beverage Business INSIGHTS, will highlight opportunities for both distribs and suppliers amid the increasing cross-pollination between beer and non-alc bevs. The insight and perspective they offer is simply not available anywhere else. Don’t miss this unique opportunity – Register now for this exclusive 90-minute webinar; price is $200 per registrant.
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