Mill Street Brewery has defended itself against a recent lawsuit from Sleeman Breweries, suggesting one of its employees engaged in information-sharing when joining the brewer.

The Canadian craft brewer said on Friday (2 November) that it refutes the claims made by Sleeman against its new employee David Mitchell, who previously worked as former regional sales director for the Sapporo subsidiary. The company added that the lawsuit had "no merit",  and an audit has confirmed that "no files of a confidential nature to Sleeman were ever shared".

Mill Street brewmaster Joel Manning said: "This seems to be more about a beer industry Goliath trying to squash a David beer brewer. We believe that this is an extraordinary attempt to hurt one of Ontario's most popular craft brewers."

Mitchell added: "I have admitted to mistakenly backing up personal and industry files before I left Sleeman but have sworn an affidavit stating that I never used or shared confidential information with anyone."

Mill Street Brewery CEO Irvine Weitzman added: "Sleeman commissioned an independent forensic audit of Mr. Mitchell's computer and his storage device, which Mr. Mitchell provided willingly. Our understanding is that the audit confirmed that just as we and David have repeatedly stated - no files of a confidential nature to Sleeman were ever shared with Mill Street Brewery."

Toronto-based Mill Street produces handcrafted beers and ales including brands such as Original Organic Lager, Tankhouse Ale, Stock Ale and Coffee Porter.