US & Canada

Minnesota shutdown puts MillerCoors beer sales in doubt

Three bottles of MillerCoors beer sitting on a bar
Image caption MillerCoors did now renew their brand registration prior to a government shutdown in Minnesota

Beer giant MillerCoors may be forced to stop selling 39 popular beers in stores and bars in Minnesota because of the state's ongoing government shutdown.

The company failed to renew their brand label registration before a budget dispute prompted a shutdown on 1 July.

State employees who process alcohol licence renewals were laid off when the government shut down, Minnesota official Doug Neville said.

Mr Neville said MillerCoors must take action within "days instead of weeks".

But a company spokesman, Julian Green, said the second largest brewer in the US, still hoped to resolve the dispute through talks with state alcohol regulators.

"With 39 brands at stake in one of our largest markets in the country, during one of the highest selling periods in the summer, we don't take our business of ensuring proper state licences lightly," Mr Green said.

Mr Green said MillerCoors had filed paperwork to renew the brand licences by the 13 June due date.

Mr Green also said the company had not ruled out legal action.

The beers affected by the shutdown include Miller Lite, Coors Lite as well as regional and craft beers, including George Killian's and Blue Moon.

The renewal fees amounted to $30 (£18.50) per brand, or $1,170 (£725) in total.

The government shutdown in Minnesota began over a budget impasse.

The state's Democratic Governor, Mark Dayton, had called for spending cuts and tax increases, while the Republican-led legislature rejected higher taxes.

Roughly 23,000 of a total of 36,000 state workers are estimated to be off work.

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