Minn. Shutdown Means MillerCoors Must Pull Beer

MillerCoors LLC must pull 39 brands of beer from Minnesota bars, restaurants and stores because it failed to renew brand-label registrations before the state government shut down July 1, the Public Safety Department said.

The company disputes that it failed to file the paperwork and fee in time and is talking with state officials, said Julian Green, a spokesman for the No. 2 U.S. beer company.

“We’re hoping that for the consumers in Minnesota, as well as the retailers and the distributors who depend on this to make a living, we can bring some resolution,” Green said in a telephone interview today from Chicago.

The registration, which must be renewed every three years with a $30 fee per brand, is required for the manufacturing, distribution or sale of alcohol, said Doug Neville, a spokesman for the Minnesota Public Safety Department.

The state has contacted the company seeking a plan for how it will remove the beer from the state and wants that to happen “within days,” Neville said in a telephone interview from St. Paul.

“They’re unable technically to either distribute or sell their product in the state,” Neville said.

The MillerCoors registration expired June 13, and although the company tried to renew it, the registration could not be processed in time before the shutdown, he said. The company filed its paperwork and two checks to cover the fee, Green said.

Lite Out

The company is a joint venture between SABMiller Plc (SAB) and Molson Coors Brewing Co. (TAP) The affected brands include Miller, Miller Lite, Coors Light and Foster’s, Green said. Sales figures were not available, though Minnesota is “one of our top markets,” he said.

State agents are checking to see whether other brewers also may be affected, Neville said.

The Minnesota stalemate, the longest of the nation’s six state government shutdowns since 2002, began July 1 after Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders failed to resolve an impasse about how to address a $5 billion budget deficit. Republicans want spending cuts alone, and Dayton is pushing for additional revenue to preserve services. The shutdown has idled about 23,000 state workers, closed agencies and stopped construction projects.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Niquette in Columbus at mniquette@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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