Beer Distributor Challenges Manufacturer's Termination of Contract Under State Alcoholic Beverage Franchise Act
Esber Beverage Company v. Labatt USA Operating Company, LLC, et al., Case no. 2012-0941
Fifth District Court of Appeals (Stark County)
ISSUE: When a new owner acquires a company that manufactures alcoholic beverages, and in doing so assumes the previous owner's franchise agreements with local wholesaler/distributors, does a provision added to Ohio's Alcoholic Beverages Franchise Act in 1994 give the successor owner an independent statutory right to later terminate its franchise agreement with an Ohio distributor without "just cause," notwithstanding the terms and conditions of the franchise agreement?