Industry & Business

Beam Hit Out at Sidney Frank Lawsuit Claims over Cooley Distllery

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Beam Hit Out at Sidney Frank Lawsuit Claims over Cooley Distllery

February 27
10:11 2014

Beam has hit out at claims made by importing company Sidney Frank that it “sought to destroy” a rival Irish whiskey brand, just days after the group failed to block a lawsuit over the matter.

Sidney Frank Importing Company launched a US$100 million lawsuit against Beam in March 2013, alleging that the US drinks group had “wrongfully terminated” a supply contract for the importer’s Michael Collins Irish whiskey brand with the Cooley Distillery.

Beam purchased the Cooley Distillery, for US$95m in 2011, and decided to cease some third party supply of its liquid once long-term contracts had come to an end.

It was recently revealed that a New York federal court had dismissed Beam’s bid to block a lawsuit by Sidney Frank, which has accused the company of “wrongful” contract termination, “tortious interference”, and creating “unfair competition” in the Irish whiskey market.

Beam, owner of Maker’s Mark and Courvoisier Cognac, has since said that Sidney Frank’s allegations are “without merit”. A spokesperson for the company added: “We will defend this case vigorously and we are confident that we will prevail.”

The US drinks group, which is set to be acquired by Suntory later this year, also claimed that no long-term contract existed between Sidney Frank and the Cooley Distillery, adding that it had decided not to renew some third party contracts with the distillery to “ensure sufficient whiskey stocks are available to meet the growing demand for Cooley whiskeys, both now and in the future”.

Meanwhile, Lee Einsidler, CEO of Sidney Frank, pledged to “continue to actively pursue our claims in court no matter how long it takes, with the ultimate goal of telling our compelling story to a jury”.


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