Late week a jury awarded Stone Brewing $56 million in damages against MolsonCoors in conclusion of a four-year trademark infringement lawsuit. Although it was most likely the largest settlement for trademark infringement ever in the beer industry, it may not solve Stone Brewing’s financial problems,
In courthouse testimony during the trial, Stone CEO Maria Stipp revealed that the San Diego-based brewery owes investment firm VMG/Hillhouse $434 million. According to an article in Good Beer Hunting Sightlines, Kate Bernot reported that VMG invested $89.5 million in Stone in 2016 to support “undisclosed projects and growth, and it’s unclear how the overall number continued to climb” to the current amount. The investment came during a period of profuse expansion for Stone that was noteworthy even during the rapid growth of the craft brewing industry across the country at the time.
Stone was scheduled to repay the $434 million by June 2023, but Stipp says the firm has given Stone an unspecified amount of additional time to come up with the cash. As a result of this burden, Stipp testified, Stone had considered selling its company according to testimony reported by Court House News.
The full story in Sightlines here.