MN government shutdown could cause headache for beer giant

5:35 AM, Jul 14, 2011   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota's state government shutdown could cause a big problem for brewing giant MillerCoors.

The state has reportedly told MillerCoors it needs to pull its products from stores, bars and restaurants statewide because of a licensing problem caused by the shutdown.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Doug Neville said Wednesday that MillerCoors' "brand label registrations" with the state have expired. The employees who process renewals were laid off when state government shut down July 1 in a budget dispute.

Neville says Chicago-based MillerCoors LLC has been told to come up with a plan for pulling its products in a few days.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that MillerCoors spokesman Julian Green is refuting reports that the company will have to remove product from Minnesota shelves. It's business as usual for MillerCoors in Minnesota for now, Green told the newspaper. 

Green said the company complied with all applicable state laws, sent its registration and fees to the state on time and is working with Minnesota authorities to clear up the matter.

"We are feeling the pain just like other licensees, but we are working with the state to clear this up," Green said.

Green added that Minnesota is one of the brewer's largest markets. "We have pretty significant volume there," Green said.

If the reports are true, the impact on beer drinkers would be significant. Products that could be pulled include:

Blue Moon Pale Moon Belgian Style Pale Ale, Coors Banquet, Coors Light, Coors Light 3.2, Foster's Lager Beer, Foster's Premium Ale, Grolsch Amber Ale, Grolsch Blonde Lager, Grolsch Light Lager, Grolsch Premium Lager, Hamm's, Hamm's Genuine Draft Style, Hamm's Special Light, Henry Weinhard's Dark, Henry Weinhard's Hefeweizen, Henry Weinhard's Pale Ale, Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve, Icehouse Beer, Keystone Light Beer 3.2, Killians Irish Red 3.2, MGD Light 64, Mickey's Ice Ale, Mickey's Malt Liquor, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller High Life 12/16 oz can, Miller High Life Ice, Miller High Life Light 12 oz can, Miller Lite 3.2%, Miller Lite Beer, Milwaukee's Best #1 , Milwaukee's Best Ice, Milwaukee's Best Light #1 3.2, Molson Canadian, Molson Canadian Light, Molson Golden, Molson Ice, Molson XXX, Olde English 800 Malt Liquor, and Sparks Light.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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