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The Americas

USA | Oh no, craft brewer Stone is involved in a trademark dispute again, this time on the other side, as the accused. In a lawsuit, filed on 11 April 2022, Sycamore Brewing, a craft brewer from Charlotte, North Carolina, charges that Stone stole its trademark slogan, “Keep It Juicy”, which it uses to market its popular “Juiciness IPA”.

Mexico | Take it as a sign of the times that environmental concerns now trump business plans. US brewer Constellation Brands is getting ready to build a brewery in Veracruz. The company reported at the end of April 2022 that it will invest USD 1.3 billion in the southeastern Mexican state over the next four years. The investment is part of the USD 5.5 billion it will spend on its Mexican plants over the same period.

USA | It was mostly good news for craft brewers in 2021, according to data released by the Brewers Association on 5 April 2022.

USA | Who are those people who file all their grocery bills for further reference? In the US, some 23,000 consumers brought along their receipts and joined a class action lawsuit in 2015 against Diageo, the brewer of Guinness, over misleading labelling on Guinness Extra Stout.

USA | After four years of legal wrangling and three weeks of trial, San Diego’s craft brewer Stone won its lawsuit against Molson Coors. The eight-person jury’s decision on 25 March 2022 was unanimous, but the victory was not necessarily everything Stone may have hoped for.

USA | A San Diego federal jury said on 25 March 2022 that Molson Coors must pay craft brewer Stone USD 56 million for causing consumer confusion with ads for its Keystone brand.

USA | Boston Beer’s Chairman, Jim Koch, already hinted in February that first quarter 2022 beer sales would be tough. And indeed, January proved pretty rough. Taxpaid domestic beer shipments dropped 815 000 barrels (950 000 hl), or 6.2 percent over January 2021, estimated the Beer Institute. In February, shipments declined 5.8 percent over the same month 2021, which is a loss of 681 000 barrels (796 000 hl).

USA | Many thought it was a bad omen for the whole of the industry when San Diego’s craft brewer Modern Times, which a few years ago was expanding rapidly, on 14 February said it would close four of its eight taprooms and lay off 73 people.

USA | A trial in a trademark dispute, in which craft brewer Stone is suing MillerCoors (now Molson Coors) for compensation after MillerCoors had niftily rebranded its economy beer brand Keystone and thus stolen Stone’s craft beer customers, began on 7 March 2022. It is scheduled to last for three weeks.

USA | So Monster and Constellation are still talking about a combination. According to Bloomberg, talks between the two beverage firms are progressing. Indeed, an agreement could be reached in the coming weeks if negotiations proceed smoothly. The similarly sized companies have a combined market value of about USD 90 billion.

USA | The Treasury Department’s long-awaited report on competition in the markets for beer, wine, and spirits was finally released on 9 February 2022. While it commends the proliferation of new firms over the past several decades, the report also details challenges to the growth of small businesses and new entrants into the marketplace.