A jury reached a verdict Wednesday on whether Corona Hard Seltzer can be considered beer for licensing purposes.
In February 2021, a suit was initiated by Grupo Modelo claiming Constellation violated a licensing agreement pertaining to the use of the Corona name. Constellation’s license to use the “Corona” label in the U.S. applies only to beer products, an agreement Grupo Modelo claims was violated when Constellation produced and distributed the hard seltzer line.
The jury ruled in favor of Constellation Brands today, according to a March 15 newsletter from Beer Business Daily. The lawsuit, centered on Corona Hard Seltzer and Modelo Ranch Water, addressed Constellation’s sublicensing agreement with Grupo Modelo (the Mexican division of Anheuser-Busch InBev).
Corona Hard Seltzer is fermented from a sugar base, according to BBD. The lawsuit aimed to first pin down the legal definition of “beer” to determine whether a license breach occurred.
The trial lasted approximately two weeks, with final jury deliberations lasting for about an hour. The jury, composed of four men and four women, listened to presentations from A-B InBev chief Carlos Brito, corporation leaders, and corporate attorneys during the trial.
“We are pleased with the outcome of this trial and remain committed to continuing to operate in accordance with the terms of our sublicense agreement as we work with our distributor and retailer partners to continue to build brands consumers love,” Constellation tells BBD.
ABI’s Grupo Model expressed its “disappointment” in a statement to BBD and says it is “evaluating all options.”
This is a developing story; more details are expected to emerge in the coming days.
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