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Last Call for Miller Lite in Richfield? MillerCoors Becomes Another Casualty of Shutdown

MillerCoors has been directed by the State of Minnesota to come up with a plan to pull all of its 39 beer brands, including Miller Lite, Coors Light and Blue Moon, from store shelves and restaurants in the next few days.

Thanks to the Minnesota government shutdown, in a matter of days, the Silver Bullet may not be allowed to make any more beer runs to Richfield’s bars, restaurants and liquor stores.

According to a report in the Star Tribune, Doug Neville, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which oversees liquor regulation, said that MillerCoors, the company that brews and distributes products like Coors Light, Miller Lite and Blue Moon, failed to renew their brand label registration with the state before the shutdown began.

manager Bill Fillmore said it was business as usual at this point and that he hadn’t heard anything from MillerCoors or other municipalities.

“I haven't heard anything from any jurisdiction about pulling product or not,” Fillmore said. “[However], I do know that the beer in our stores, we've paid for and we own it.”

However, Brenda Visnovec, the director of operations, said she received word Tuesday that the company will have to remove all of its 39 beer products from shelves and bars within a matter of days.

“This problem was kept very quiet,” said Visnovec, who said she was told MillerCoors’ brand registration expired June 15. “It’s kind of astonishing.”

Further, Stephen DeLong, director of Northfield liquor stores, said he hasn't heard from Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association officials and said he doesn't understand how product could be pulled if it's already been bought by establishments.

But if it turns out to be true and product either needs to be pulled off shelves or new MillerCoors products aren't delivered, DeLong said it could be a "major issue."

Visnovec said she was told the problem arose when MillerCoors gave the state a check for too much money. The company was supposed to pay $30 per brand registration on 39 different products. Because the check was for a larger amount than the $1,170 needed, the state returned the check.

Julian Green, a MillerCoors spokesman, told Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel that, for now, it was business as usual in Minnesota for the brewer and that executives were working with authorities to come up with a solution.

Green said the company even sent in a new check and the state received it on June 27, he told the Star Tribune. But the company received a letter a few days later saying their brand licenses had expired.

The Star Tribune also reported that Anheuser-Busch, which distributes Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Golden Light, will face a similar problem if the shutdown extends to October.

For now, Fillmore is unsure how this will affect the Richfield stores and he will just have to wait it out, but future deliveries could be an issue.

The brands affected:

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, Sparks Light

Mike McLean July 14, 2011 at 12:45 PM
Many people say that the government doesn't produce anything. I think it does. Minnesota government produces little pieces of paper. If a bar sends them money, the State sends them a piece of paper called a Buyer's Card. This card "Allows" bars to procure liquor from liquor wholesalers. Or if you are liquor wholesaler you send them money and they send you a “Brand Card” which “Allows” you to sell to retail establishments. Or if you want to sell products at the state fair, you send money to the state and they send you a piece of paper that “Allows” you to sell items at the state fair. So for all of you people who think that the government just takes your money and produces nothing, you are wrong. If you send the State of Minnesota money, they will send you a little piece of paper “Allowing” you to do things….
Dennis Gillespie July 14, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Very well put Mike, kind of like the Moffia, but atleast they were paperless and the trees were safe

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