Corona Dumps Importer
Mexican brewer wins court battle against Gambrinus
The Mexican brewing company that produces Corona has won an arbitration case that means it will replace the Gambrinus Company as its importer in the Eastern United States in 2007.
After receiving the news, Grupo Modelo CEO Carlos Fernandez said: "The arbitral award, in our favor, will allow us to seek the best available options with the aim of enhancing the value of our export business and create more value for our shareholders.
"We are very confident that the transition process ahead of us will in no way harm or disrupt our export operations into the U.S. market and we will take all necessary measures to assure that the supply of our products to the distribution network in the east will continue".
Gambrinus has imported the Modelo beers for nearly 20 years. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Gambrinus went to the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce early last year to arbitrate the dispute after it was notified its longtime import contract wouldn't be renewed.
Gambrinus officials said Grupo Modelo attempted to buy the San Antonio-based importer in 2004 but was rebuffed. Modelo and its U.S. arm, Procermex, then notified Gambrinus that its rights to import Corona and other Modelo brands wouldn't be renewed.
Founded in 1925, Grupo Modelo is the leader in the production, distribution, and sale of beer in Mexico. Modelo has seven breweries in Mexico, with an installed capacity of 52 million hectoliters of beer per year. At present, it has 11 brands, among them Corona Extra, "the best selling Mexican beer in the world," Modelo Especial, Victoria, Pacifico, and Negra Modelo as well as other regional brews.
Anheuser-Busch owns 50% of the brewery. Constellation Brands subsidiary Barton Beers imports its beers to the Western U.S.