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Anheuser-Busch InBev takes US beer maker to court over misuse of Corona brand name…

… because the name was applied to a hard seltzer, a non-beer product.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), a multinational drinks and brewing company, has taken US-based Constellation Brands, a maker of beer, spirits and wine, to court over the alleged misuse of the ‘Corona’ brand name.

Constellation had used the ‘Corona’ name for its hard seltzer, a carbonated beverage containing alcohol and fruit flavouring. AB InBev said using the ‘Corona’ name to a non-beer product flouts the licensing agreement between the two companies.

Grupo Modelo is a Mexican brewery that exports beer across the world. Its most famous export is the Corona beer brand. In 2013, AB InBev took over the Mexican brewery. But AB InBev “agreed with US antitrust regulators to sell Grupo Modelo’s business in the United States to Constellation, including the Corona brand. AB InBev retained rights to Corona and other Modelo brands in Mexico and elsewhere,” wrote leading global wire service Reuters in a news story on February 15, 2021.

“Modelo said the licensing arrangement for Corona only extended to beer and did not include hard seltzer,” the story added. The Corona Hard Seltzer was launched in February 2020, is gluten-free and comes in four flavours: Blackberry Lime, Cherry, Tropical Lime and Mango.

As per Reuters, “Constellation said Modelo’s claims, including that its seltzer should not be classified as a beer, were without merit and were an attempt to restrain a strong competitor.”