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Conflicts between Korean spirit maker GoldenBlue and Danish beer brand Carlsberg continue after the latter terminated its distribution contract with the former as of March 31. Korea News Plus file photo

Conflicts continue between Korean spirit maker and Danish beer brand

South Korean whiskey company GoldenBlue asked for 10 billion won ($76 million) compensation from Carlsberg after the termination of distributing contracts, according to a source familiar with the issue on April 19.

The source, who asked not to be named, said that the two sides recently met so that GoldenBlue came up with the request, which was flatly rejected by Carlsberg.

Late last month, GoldenBlue announced that it would stop distributing Carlsberg products in Korea as of March 31 as the latter “unilaterally” wrapped up the contract.

Beginning in April 2018, GoldenBlue distributed Carlsberg beer here, and through the cooperation, the Danish beer brand joined the top 10 list.

In particular, Carlsberg racked up the highest annual sales in 2021 since its launch in Korea, according to GoldenBlue.

However, Carlsberg terminated the deal, contending that GoldenBlue’s commitment to Carlsberg had never been 100 percent fulfilled in tandem with the bilateral contract.

GoldenBlue asked Carlsberg to retract the decision to continue the partnership, but the latter refused to do so.

Against this backdrop, GoldenBlue said that it would lodge a complaint with the Fair Trade Commission and file a lawsuit for the losses incurred by the measure of Carlsberg as well as visit the Danish embassy to protest.

GoldenBlue claimed that it had set up a dedicated department, dubbed Beer & Spirits, for the partnership with Carlsberg, employing up to 50 staff members during the past five years.

The Seoul-based spirit company contended that it had launched special Carlsberg packages, taken part in festivals, opened pop-up stores, and carried out media conferences for the success of the European brand.

“As far as I know, Carlsberg was not ready to compensate at all in reaction to the GoldenBlue request during the recent meeting,” the source said.

“Disappointed by the result, GoldenBlue appears to employ a law firm to file a complaint with the FTC. It is also expected to collaborate with civic groups to let people know the situation and visit the Danish embassy to protest to eventually ask for compensation.”

When contacted, a GoldenBlue representative refused to confirm whether the firm had met with Carlsberg to request the compensation.

Remarks from Carlsberg were not available, either.

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The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.