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Pabst Brewing and MillerCoors ended a legal dispute that had cast doubt on the fate of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz and other blue-necked beers, culminating in a settlement at the end of the year. a jury. As part of this agreement, MillerCoors will continue to brew beers under contract for Pabst.
MillerCoors was trying to end the 20-year deal when the current contract will expire in two years – but Pabst hesitated over the idea, saying the deal included options for an extension. The company has taken legal action, discouraged by the task of maintaining PBR, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee, Colt 45 and other beers on the market without MillerCoors preparing them.
The details of the deal have not been disclosed. in separate statements, both parties have described it as an "amicable" solution to the disputed case since the first filing of the case in March 2016.
In the conflict, MillerCoors said it was no longer financially logical to prepare a beer for Pabst. In his lawsuit, Pabst said MillerCoors was essentially trying to shut down its business.
Despite its name, Pabst Brewing does not prepare most of the beer sold.
"Really, the way to think of them, it's more of a beer marketing business," said Matthew Weinberg, an economics professor at Ohio State University, at Marketplace last week.
In addition to national labels such as PBR, the case raised the threat that Pabst would no longer be able to maintain long-standing regional beers in their local markets. The company's portfolio ranges from National Bohemian (popular in Baltimore, Maryland) to Lone Star in Texas and Olympia in Washington State.
For example, the cover of the Baltimore Sun was titled "Is Natty Boh in danger of extinction?"
These fears are now appeased, after the two companies have developed a settlement of the dispute, a jury of jurors having deliberated for nearly two days. When considering a potential decision, the jury asked to consider more than 40 pieces of evidence, according to the records of the clerk of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.
With a new deal struck, a Pabst spokesman said the company "will continue to offer Pabst Blue Ribbon and the rest of our authentic, tasty and affordable beers to all Americans for many, many years".
Pabst and MillerCoors once thought their customers belonged to very different segments of the market. This dynamic, however, has changed since 2000, following the restructuring of the beer sector and the influx of craft beer and other changes.
"Maybe there are more customers out there [now] who are a little indifferent between buying, for example, Miller High Life and PBR, "said Weinberg Market last week. "So, I think it has become more of a problem now than before maybe."
The dispute over the brewing contract comes four years after the sale of Pabst Brewing for several hundred million dollars to a partnership between entrepreneur Eugene Kashper and TSG Consumer Partners, a private equity firm in San Francisco. The company is currently based in Los Angeles.