Ending a two-year dispute, the Confederation of Belgian Breweries (CBB) announced today it has reached an out-of-court settlement with Coors Brewing Company of Golden, Colorado regarding the labeling, packaging and advertising of Coors' Blue Moon beer.

According to the Belgian brewers, Coors has agreed to change the labels and packaging for its Blue Moon beer to ensure that American consumers are not confused and understand that Coors' Blue Moon Belgian White style beer is not a Belgian beer, but is brewed in the United States.

"We are pleased that Coors has agreed to do the right thing in this case," stated Jan De Brabanter, Director of External Relations for the CBB. "We have clearly demonstrated that when it comes to beers, the term 'Belgian' has a special significance to American consumers. To Belgians, and to increasingly more American consumers, to say that a beer is 'Belgian' means not only that a beer is an excellent quality beer, but that it is actually brewed in Belgium where we consider the brewing of beer an art form in and of itself," he noted.

"Blue Moon is a 'Belgian-Style' beer and not an authentic Belgian beer. While we do not question the quality of Coors' product, Belgian brewers felt it was crucial to the integrity of our industry that American consumers did not buy Blue Moon beer thinking it was a genuine Belgian beer," De Brabanter added.

According to the settlement negotiated by the CBB's legal team led by Bart A. Lazar, a partner at the Chicago-based law firm of Seyfarth Shaw, Coors will immediately begin to phase out its current labels, packaging, beer taps and certain other marketing and promotional materials. Coors' new materials will contain prominent language stating that the beer is a "Belgian-Style Wheat Ale" that is brewed in the United States.

"We are pleased to have reached an amicable settlement with Coors that will ensure that American consumers are not confused as to the origins of Blue Moon beer," said Lazar. "Protecting the interests of all Belgian brewers and the American beer drinker was at the heart of this litigation and we are confident those goals have been accomplished through this settlement," added Lazar.

The settlement ends a dispute of more than two years between the Belgian brewers and Coors, which ultimately involved the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Belgian Government and the United States Courts. After failing to reach an agreement with Coors, the CBB filed suit in U.S. Federal District Court in mid-November 1999 alleging false advertising, false designation of origin and deceptive trade practices.

"This law suit was about standing firm on our principles," stated Michel Brichet, Chief Executive Officer of the CBB. "Our members are both brewers of beer and Belgian citizens. As brewers we wanted to make sure that Americans judge our beer on its own merits, as Belgian citizens, we wanted to make sure that the beer of Belgium, which is a national treasure, was not diluted. We believe this agreement accomplishes both these goals, and lets our members go back to doing what they do best -- brewing some of the best beer in the world," Brichet said.

The Confederation of Belgian Breweries (CBB) is one of the oldest professional associations in the world and all Belgian breweries belong to it. Its most important task is to represent the general interests of the brewery sector in the economic, social and ethical spheres.

The CBB acts as official spokesman of the brewers with regional, national, European and international authorities. Its action covers all sectors of importance for the brewing industry and is directed in particular at economic, social, national and international regulations, fiscal and legal affairs, agricultural problems and activities for the promotion of beer.