La Compagnie Brasserie Stroh, a Quebec beer distributor managed by Sleeman Breweries Ltd has admitted to trying to prevent retailers from offering discounts on its beers. The company has been handed with the largest fine in a price maintenance case ever in the country.

La Compagnie Brasserie Stroh was fined C$250,000 after pleading guilty in the Federal Court of Canada to charges of price maintenance, following an investigation by the Competition Bureau.

A statement of facts said Brasserie Stroh attempted to "influence upward, or to discourage the reduction of, the price" that retailers in Quebec charged for cases of six and 12 bottles from April, 1999, to April, 2000.

Brasserie Stroh, whose brands include Old Milwaukee and Colt 45, asked retailers to maintain a minimum price for its products, which Brasserie Stroh set, in return for volume discounts. The practice affected more than C$2m of beer sales in the 12-month period.

Sleeman, which paid the fine as per its management agreement with City Brewing, which owns Brasserie Stroh, said the case was down to "an honest mistake from people a few years ago who didn't understand how to write up retail contracts."

The company has taken "corrective action to make sure it doesn't happen again."