South Korean distiller and imported-liquor distributor GoldenBlue has thrown away its remaining inventory of Carlsberg beer amid a dispute, local news reports suggest.
The disposed goods are said to be worth Won490m ($378,140) according to regional newspaper, The Korea JoongAng Daily.
GoldenBlue’s decision was made amid an ongoing dispute between the distributor and Carlsberg following the termination of short-term contracts between the two companies earlier this year.
Piling expenses such as storage costs have brought “further losses”, a GoldenBlue official told JoongAng Daily, leaving it “no choice but to dispose of all remaining Carlsberg product inventory”.
The distributor filed a complaint with South Korean regulators in June, alleging Carlsberg had breached monopoly laws.
It claimed the Danish brewing giant had acted unfairly since the distribution agreement between the two groups began in 2018. It also alleged Carlsberg had set “unreasonable” sales targets and forced large volume orders.
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GoldenBlue had a three-year distribution contract with Carlsberg which expired in 2021.
In January 2022, both companies continued to work together on short-term contracts until March 2023, when neither group could reach “mutual agreement” over a longer contract, according to Carlsberg.
The Danish brewer then set up its own business unit in South Korea in October 2022.
GoldenBlue also called for compensation from the brewer in March, after receiving “a unilateral contract termination notice” to cease distribution of Carlsberg.
It claimed it had put a lot of money towards the brand, taking on 50 employees and developing a ‘beer and spirits’ headquarters, which in turn it believed helped Carlsberg become one of South Korea’s top-ten imported beer brands.
In a statement sent to Just Drinks today (28 November), Carlsberg said the expiry of the original contract “was not contested by GoldenBlue”, and described the allegations surrounding unethical trading and the demand for compensation as “ill-founded”.
It also said it “strongly disagrees with the statements and allegations made by Golden Blue”.
The spokesperson said: “We believe that the collaboration agreement already expired in accordance with the agreed terms but was extended temporarily to allow for mutual negotiations which unfortunately did not succeed.”
The Brooklyn Lager brewer stressed it “did not negotiate on false pretenses but was also not obliged to enter into a new agreement if satisfactory terms could not be agreed”.
According to Carlsberg, GoldenBlue said it would reject its invitation to discuss “the practical and financial arrangements resulting from the discontinuation of the collaboration”, until the Danish multinational is willing to accept its compensation claim.
It added: “Since Golden Blue has also indicated that it will take various kinds of legal action against Carlsberg, we have naturally engaged a local law firm to guide us in that regard.
“However, we remain hopeful that Golden Blue will reconsider and agree to meet and discuss this matter with Carlsberg with a view to settling the matter amicably.”