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US: Judge rejects Beam Inc's bid to have Sidney Frank lawsuit thrown out

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Beam Inc has said it is still “confident it will prevail” in a legal battle with Sidney Frank despite a federal judge rejecting its effort to have a US$100m lawsuit brought by the importer thrown out. 

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Sidney Frank launched the suit last March claiming that Beam had breached a contract by denying it access to Michael Collins Irish Whiskey in the US, following the Illinois-based group’s acquisition of the brand's owner, Cooley Distillery. However, Beam formally responded in October, arguing that the complaint did not illustrate a valid contract between the companies, the website Law360 reported

In the latest episode, US District Judge, Nelson Roman, on Wednesday (19 February) denied Beam’s efforts to dismiss the lawsuit by rejecting its claim that there was no contract between the parties after 31 December, 2007, Law360 reported. 

However, Beam is standing firm on its position. In a statement sent to just-drinks today (20 February), the company said: “This claim is without merit. We will defend this case vigorously and we are confident that we will prevail.”

Beam acquired Irish whiskey distillery Cooley, which also produces the Kilbeggan brand, for US$95m in January 2012

The Jim Beam and Maker's Mark producer is currently in the process of being acquired itself by Japanses group Suntory for US$16bn. The deal is expected to complete in April, Beam said yesterday


Sectors: Spirits

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