MillerCoors Shut Out of MN

Brewer caught in government shutdown – told to remove products from retailers

MillerCoors became a victim of Minnesota’s government shutdown yesterday when state officials said it would have to stop selling its beer in the state because of expired licenses.

The Department of Public Safety told the brewer it must stop distribution in Minnesota and devise a plan to pull its product from the shelves. MillerCoors supplies 38 percent of the beer sold in Minnesota, and the state is one of the top five markets in the country for MC.

MillerCoors officials said on Wednesday they intend to fight the state and keep distributing. “We believe we’ve followed all applicable state laws on this,” said Julian Green, director of media relations for MillerCoors. “It is our feeling that if we follow all state laws then we should be permitted and have the right to sell our products in the state.”

But Department of Public Safety spokesman Doug Neville said the law is the law. “There’s really nothing in the statute that allows us to make an accommodation for anybody,” he said.

In June, MillerCoors attempted to renew brand label registrations that brewers must renew with the state every three years, but according to company officials, sent the state a check for more than the required amount. Green said the company followed up with a new check, which the state received June 27.

But on June 30, one day before the government shutdown, the company received a letter from the state that its brand licenses had expired. State employees who would typically renew those licenses have been deemed noncritical during the shutdown and laid off.

Craft beer, anyone?

ProBrewer will post updates in this thread.


  1. South County says

    The bad thing here is the small stores that sell miller products are going to see a be punch in the wallet. However it is a good education on why diversified portfolios can be good. If it was a craft brewer that suffered the same fate, the tone on this story (as a whole) would certainly be different I’m sure.

  2. Mike Elliott says

    First, they came for the international macro-brewers, but I did not speak up because I rarely drank their tasteless swill.

    Then they came for the million-barrel craft brewers, but I did not speak up because my business plan did not call for breaking into the upper-level excise tax bracket.

    Then they came for me. And now I am thirsty and cannot speak up due to the dryness of my own throat.

    Bottom line, this sounds like lousy governance, and we should all hope MillerCoors and MN can settle this without any more fuss so business–for all of us–can continue.


  3. fa50driver says

    The worst part is that their renewal was refused because they overpaid. That is just insane.

    I can just visualize some government employee totally confused because they have no way to credit back the extra funds or send a check for the difference, so they just send the whole check back.

    It is tragic, but I can’t help but laugh at the irony of it all….