Constellation Prevails In Corona Hard Seltzer Legal Spat With AB InBev


Constellation Brands can continue selling hard seltzer under the Corona brand following a jury verdict on a suit brought by a unit of Anheuser-Busch in 2021.

The roots of the dispute date to 2013 when Constellation was given a sublicense to brew and distribute the Corona and Modelo beer brands in the United States in a deal with AB InBev’s Grupo Modelo.

At the time, hard seltzers had yet to catch on with consumers—but that quickly changed after Mark Anthony Group launched White Claw in 2016, followed by Boston Beer’s Truly and a slew of others.

As hard seltzers began to disrupt beer sales, Constellation launched Corona hard seltzer in 2020—prompting AB InBev to contend that the 2013 sublicense only applied to beer.

Last week, a federal jury in New York sided with Constellation in deciding that the sublicense allowed it to sell not just beer but other alcohol beverages—a ruling that also enables the company to sell spiked sparkling water branded Modelo Ranch Water.



Following last week’s verdict, Constellation said it was pleased with the outcome, while Grupo Modelo was “evaluating all options.”

As sales of hard seltzers have declined, major brands have been focusing on flavor reformulations in a category that “lost its novelty,” as Boston Beer CEO Dave Burwick noted last year.

As previously reported, Boston Beer reformulated Truly last fall and planned a package redesign for this year that would present “a cleaner, easy-to-shop look” and promote the inclusion of real fruit juice.

Today, Molson Coors announced the addition of Simply Spiked Peach to its Simply Spiked Lemonade line in kiwi peach, mango peach, strawberry peach and signature peach flavors.

This ad for Simply Spiked Peach features actor and comedian Ron Funches dressed in satin pajamas, lounging on a bed and holding a can of Simply Spiked Lemonade.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, White Claw parent Mark Anthony Group is seeking to unseat vodka market leader Tito’s Handmade Vodka with the launch of White Claw Premium Vodka.


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