Accusation of stealing of the secret recipes for its beers, including Michelob Ultra and Bud Light, have been leveled against MillerCoors by the Bud Light brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev in what is being considered to be the latest escalation of the legal battle between the two rivals.
A law suit against Anheuser-Busch was first filed in March by MillerCoors, the U.S. subsidiary of Molson Coors, following the airing of a Super Bowl commercial by the Anheuser-Busch in which accusation that corn syrup was used in the shamed Miller Lite and Coors Light beers were inadvertently imposed. That led to the US company filing the law suit first.
A preliminary injunction against Anheuser-Busch was issued by a federal judge in September this year in which the court said that the beer giant Anheuser-Busch could not claim that “no corn syrup” was present in its own products.
In response, Anheuser-Busch filed a redacted counterclaim on Thursday this week alleging that information about the company and its product composition was being gathered by one of its former employees, currently employed with a MillerCoors brewery in Colorado, through personal contacts in the with employees of Anheuser-Busch and hence this was a gross violation of the confidentiality agreements that were struck in the days before and after the Super Bowl. The court documents show Anheuser-Busch claiming that some of the questions of the former employee to the current employees of the company involved the use of corn syrup in the brewing process of Anheuser-Busch.
The court the filing from Anheuser-Busch also alleges that the information was also being sought by some senior executives from MillerCoors and the email chains about the findings also included CEO Gavin Hattersley.
As part of its ongoing case against Anheuser-Busch, it has also been alleged that MillerCoors has produced documents that show the recipes for Bud Light and Michelob Ultra. According to Anheuser-Busch, the recipes allegedly presented in the court were print-outs of screen shots were allegedly folded up and were smuggled out of its brewery clandestinely and then delivered to the receiver through text.
In the court filings, those recipes of its beers were descried to be “extraordinarily valuable” by Anheuser-Busch as the company cited the status of Bud Light as being the most popular and best selling beer in the United States and the status of Michelob Ultra as being the fastest growing one.
“We will enforce our right to uncover how high up this may reach in the MillerCoors organization,” Anheuser-Busch said in a statement. “We take our trade secrets seriously and will protect them to the fullest extent of the law.”
There were no comments found in the issue from MillerCoors.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)