TORONTO – Two brewing giants are heading back to court in their battle over the Canadian distribution rights for several bands of Miller beer after talks to reach an out-of-court settlement fell through.
The dispute between Molson Coors (TSX:TPX.B) (NYSE:TAP) and Miller Brewing Co. follows an attempt by Miller to terminate its longtime Canadian licensing agreement with Molson Coors.
“The parties have been engaged in settlement discussions but have been unable to reach a settlement at this time,” a spokesman for Molson Coors said in a brief email statement Tuesday.
“Therefore, we are asking the court to schedule a trial date for the matter to be heard.”
The talks followed a legal skirmish last June when an Ontario court issued a temporary injunction blocking Miller from terminating the agreement, which covers such well-known brands as Millers Genuine Draft, Miller Lite and Miller High Life.
Miller has said it wants to develop the brands in Canada on its own. It intended to terminate the agreement with Molson Coors effective July 22, saying it had given the required six-month notification.
However, Molson Coors Canada filed suit to prevent the move, saying it planned on “strongly defending our rights to market and sell” Miller brands in Canada.
“Molson Coors Canada represents a number of import brands and is proud of the success Miller brands have achieved in Canada under our stewardship for the past 20 years,”‘ chief commercial officer Peter Nowlan said at the time.