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SPI And Stoli Group Sued By LSBR Holding Company

May 25, 2018

LSBR Holding Company, which holds a minority share in Bayou Rum and Louisiana Spirits, has filed a lawsuit against SPI Group and Stoli Group USA, alleging breach of contract. In 2015, SPI purchased a minority stake in Louisiana Spirits, with Stoli Group USA gaining exclusive U.S. distribution rights. The following year, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by SND, SPI agreed to take majority control of the company.

Filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in December, the suit accuses SPI and Stoli of failing to live up to their contracts with LSBR Holding Company throughout their partnership. The rum maker asserts that SPI “committed conduct that has destroyed the economic value” of Louisiana Spirits and Bayou Rum. Specific complaints include SPI’s initial disclosure of its minority ownership in Bayou in violation of a confidentiality agreement—which LSBR Holding Company argues was detrimental to the brand’s craft image—as well as unilateral packaging and label changes and inadequate leadership and sales support, among other issues.

Attorney John Jakuback, who’s representing LSBR Holding Company, tells SND that a trial date hasn’t been set but that the company’s founders are actively pursuing their claims. Stoli Group USA didn’t respond to queries for comment.

The Bayou portfolio includes Silver, Spiced, and Select rums and a Satsuma orange-infused liqueur. Last fall, Stoli announced a $6 million expansion plan for Bayou’s distillery and tourism facilities in Lacassine, Louisiana, expected to be completed later this year. —Christina Jelski

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