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GoldenBlue blames Carlsberg for canceling sales contract ‘unilaterally’

March 28, 2023 - 18:25 By Shim Woo-hyun
Carlsberg's beer products (GoldenBlue)

GoldenBlue, a South Korean whiskey maker and distributor of imported liquor products, said Tuesday that Carlsberg Group "unilaterally" terminated their contract for the distribution of Carlsberg beer in Korea earlier this month.

The company said it will stop selling Carlsberg beer products from Friday, labeling the unilateral notice “tyrannous.”

According to the Korean firm, it had distributed Carlsberg beer products under a three-year contract between 2018 and 2021, but since last year, the Danish multinational brewer shifted to short-term contracts in an apparent attempt to set up its own sales unit here.

In October last year, Carlsberg established its own sales office and declined to renew the existing contract with GoldenBlue.

GoldenBlue said it has continued distributing Carlsberg beer in hopes to renew the contract, adding that over the months it suffered from losses in operating distribution channels.

The company said it plans to file a complaint with Korea’s Fair Trade Commission, hinting at waging a separate lawsuit to claim compensation for losses.

“GoldenBlue wants to prevent any unfair trade relations between global and domestic companies from reoccurring in Korea. With their full capacities, GoldenBlue will seek ways to fundamentally block these deceptive business activities of global companies together with the government, companies and associations in all direction,” the company said in a statement.

The company declined to reveal the exact amount of losses.

Over the last five years, GoldenBlue hired around 50 employees for its distribution of Carlsberg beer products.

During the period, GoldenBlue ramped up sales of beer products significantly, making Carlsberg one of top 10 foreign beer brands in the country.

In 2019, sales of Carlsberg beer jumped 183 percent on-year. In 2020 and 2021, sales of beer products increased by 28.3 percent and 12.7 percent on-year, respectively.