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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.

USA | Boston Beer, on 16 February 2022, reported weaker-than-expected results in the latest quarter, as the brewer faced further challenges related to its Truly Hard Seltzer. The brewer of Sam Adams booked a fourth-quarter loss of USD 51.8 million, mainly due to volume adjustment costs, compared with a profit of USD 32.8 million a year earlier.

USA | Monster Beverage has been mulling a move into booze for years. In a significant shakeup to the US craft brewing industry, on 14 January 2022, Monster announced it will acquire the craft beer and hard seltzer producer CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective for about USD 330 million in cash from private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners.

Canada | It is pick’n chose for The Coca-Cola Company. Having partnered with Molson Coors for its Topo Chico hard seltzer, the beverage firm, in January 2022, said it has now chosen rival Constellation Brand to create a line of RTD cocktails under Coke’s Fresca soft drink brand. Slated to arrive some time this year, the drinks will be produced, marketed and distributed by Constellation.

Canada | The world’s leading brewer, AB-InBev, and cannabis firm Tilray have ended their partnership by mutual agreement. According to Tilray’s CEO Irwin Simon, on 6 January 2022, AB-InBev was unwilling to launch THC beverages in Canada. Cannabis drinks can legally contain either THC, which is psychoactive, CBD, which is non-psychoactive, or a blend of the two. They must not contain any alcohol, though.