The Coca-Cola Co. has fallen out with a number of smaller Glaceau Vitaminwater distributors over its plans to put 65% of its sales through its own distribution networks across the US, according to reports.

A spokesperson for the soft drinks company was cited in the Wall Street Journal today (14 September) saying: "We believe we've established a powerful distribution system that will continue to create success for these brands."

However, many distributors, which believe they have contributed to the success of Glaceau Vitaminwater, have vowed to stop Coke taking away its territory. A number of distribution companies are have taken legal action over the matter.

A lawsuit filed by B&E Juices, which distributes Glaceau brands in Connecticut, claimed that the maker of Glaceau products Energy Brands does not have legal grounds to cancel its contract under Connecticut franchise law.

The small distributors have argued that big soft-drink bottlers only concentrate on large-scale brands and outlets and have mediocre track records when it comes to hip niche drinks like Glaceau.

Coca-Cola Enterprises spokesperson John Downs was cited in the report as saying: "We're pretty confident about our ability to be able to execute this."

No-one was immediately available for comment at Coca-Cola when contacted by just-drinks today.