GoldenBlue will terminate the distribution of Carlsberg products later this week as its contract with the Danish beer brand finishes. Photo courtesy of GoldenBlue

GoldenBlue will stop distributing Carlsberg products this week

South Korean whiskey company GoldenBlue noted on March 28 that the outfit would stop distributing Carlsberg products here as of March 31 as the latter “unilaterally” terminated the contract.

GoldenBlue has distributed various products of Carlsberg in Korea since May 2018 by establishing a dedicated department and hiring around 50 employees for the jobs.

Thanks in no small part to its proactive marketing activities, GoldenBlue noted that the sales of the Danish beer brand had substantially increased in the Korean market.

Carlsberg, which initially failed to enter the top 15 list in Korea’s imported beer market, made it into the top 10 list after collaborating with GoldenBlue.

In 2021, Carlsberg chalked up the highest yearly sales since its launch in Korea, according to GoldenBlue.

“Despite various malicious rumors in the market and difficulties in the market stagnation, GoldenBlue continued to invest manpower and resources. GoldenBlue has maintained distribution of Carlsberg without any supply gap in the market, even while taking huge losses,” GoldenBlue said.

“In this situation, Carlsberg established the Carlsberg Korea corporation in Oct. 2022. Setting its own distribution, marketing, and logistics organizations, Carlsberg group has been steadily conducting preliminary work to terminate partner’s contract.”

Taking issue with Carlsberg’s lack of business etiquette, GoldenBlue asked the European firm to reconsider its decision this month but failed to receive a sincere reply, it noted.

The Seoul-based spirit maker also criticized Carlsberg for the contents of the termination notice of the European company that was accused of offering different termination data for products.

“The termination date for can was March 31, while bottle and draft beer was Aug. 31. This unethical behavior of fixing a different date is only advantageous to the Carlsberg group, and it does not consider the situations of the partner, which has cooperated with trust and sincerity for years,” GoldenBlue said.

Regarding the situation as “a tyranny” and “abuse of power” of a global liquor company, GoldenBlue vowed to take stern measures against Carlsberg.

“GoldenBlue plans to inform this unfairness of the unilateral contract termination by visiting the Danish embassy, filing a complaint with the Fair-Trade Commission, and filing a legal lawsuit claiming compensation for losses,” the firm said.

“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 directions.”

In fact, the relationship between the two corporations was once very good.

In time with the 60th anniversary of the Korea-Denmark diplomatic ties in May 2019, Carlsberg Foundation Chairman Flemming Besenbacher visited Korea along with Danish Crown Prince Frederik André Henrik Christian.

Back then, Carlsberg Vice President Anders Rude Jorgensen who manages the business of Carlsberg’s export to the Pacific region accompanied them to the Seoul office of GoldenBlue.

In the meeting, they promised to further solidify the long-term partnership between the two companies by signing a memorandum of understanding, GoldenBlue said.

In addition, Carlsberg selected GoldenBlue as the partner of the year in Sept. 2020, which GoldenBlue said reflected the strength of the relationship between the two companies.

“This is why this termination notice comes as very unexpected to GoldenBlue,” the firm said.

Comments from Carlsberg were not available.