Editorial Dept.'s picture

AB InBev Takes New Jersey Wholesaler to Court

Elysian Brewing Logo

After acquiring Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Company in January, Anheuser-Busch began transferring distribution rights for the brand to its network of distributors, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

But the plan hit a snag in New Jersey, where Elysian’s current distributor Hunterdon Brewing Company rebuffed AB's fair market buyout offer of $562,883, or 5.5 times Hunterdon’s 12-month gross profits on Elysian sales.

AB has taken the matter to New Jersey District Court, seeking to be found in compliance with the New Jersey Malt Beverage Practices Act.

"Hunterdon Brewing disputes that the payment made by Anheuser-Busch constitutes the fair market value of its business with respect to the Elysian brands," the lawsuit states.

Hunterdon president Michael Short contends Elysian’s value is 12 times gross profits. But AB countered that the amount offered was higher than what AB paid for Blue Point’s distribution in New Jersey, which came to 4.75 times gross profits.

"Our preference is that we want our brands distributed by our equity wholesalers where possible," said AB’s regional vice president Brendan Whitworth in a press release.