Pabst Brewing Co has filed a lawsuit against MillerCoors, claiming that the SABMiller/Molson Coors JV is attempting to "sabotage Pabst's ability to compete" by hiking up contract brewing prices.

The move follows MillerCoor's announcement in September that it will close its brewing facilities in Eden, North Carolina. Pabst said the site is one of the main facilities that MillerCoors uses to brew its beers under licence.

"MillerCoors refused to provide any information to substantiate its supposed capacity determination," Pabst said. "MillerCoors also refused to entertain Pabst's offer to lease the Eden Facility.... and was only willing to sell the Eden Facility to Pabst at an astronomical, non-market price," the filing said. 

The Blue Ribbon brewer claims the pair's negotiations to extend its 2007 agreement beyond the initial term to 2020 began before MillerCoors announced plans to close Eden. Pabst claims that MillerCoors said it would terminate its agreement in 2020, unless the brewer agreed to a "commercially devastating, near-triple price increase for each barrel of Pabst's products produced by MillerCoors." Pabst believes that the matter will result in around US$400m-worth of damages.

When contacted by just-drinks, a spokesperson for MillerCoors said: "MillerCoors has attempted to work fairly and collaboratively with Pabst regarding the extension of their agreement to no avail. It is disappointing that they have chosen to let a court resolve this issue. However, we are highly confident that we have acted properly and in good faith in this matter and we believe the court will agree."