Distillers sued for $100m over Michael Collins

The US makers of Jim Beam, Canadian Club and Makers Mark have been sued for $100 million (€76.8m) by an importer that claims Beam Inc and its Cooley Distillery unit broke a contract to supply it with Michael Collins Irish Whiskey.

The importer — the New York-based Sidney Frank Importing Co (SFIC) — claimed in a suit filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court that the defendants cut off its access to the private-label whiskey brand after Beam acquired Cooley last year.

“Cooley unilaterally and wholly without justification abandoned its supply contract with SFIC,” the importer claimed.

“Beam orchestrated this move in order to monopolise Cooley’s production capacity for the benefit of its Kilbeggan brand, which Beam is aggressively promoting in the United States where Michael Collins had been ascending rapidly,” the importer said in its complaint.

SFIC claimed the move is part of Beam’s strategy to challenge the top-selling Jameson Irish Whiskey brand and rid the market of private-label whiskeys including Michael Collins.

SFIC sued Beam and Cooley for breach of contract, unfair competition and tortious interference with the importer’s business relationships with distributors throughout the US.

Beam spokesperson Clarkson Hine said they were confident they would win the case.

“We have been in commercial discussions with Sidney Frank regarding this matter.

“We are confident in our position and that we will prevail,” said Mr Hine.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Revenue probes minister turned car salesman Ivor Callely

Treasure trove of artifacts found under Cork street

Respiratory drug may be withdrawn

In the shadow of gunmen: Unsolved shootings in Cork


Breaking Stories

Families arrive at Áras an Uachtaráin for tree-lighting ceremony

Poet John Montague dies aged 87

Seanad may have problem in temporary move to National Museum

Gardaí warn public about phone scam asking for immediate payment of Revenue bill

Lifestyle

Pantomime review: Cinderella, Cork Opera House

Fair City: Behind the scenes at Carrigstown

Big read: Home to the world’s greatest restaurant

Ask Audrey has been sorting out Cork people for years

More From The Irish Examiner