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The breakup between the two companies occurred after Constellation demanded a change to their agreement.While the litigation unfolds, Missouri lawmakers are renewing efforts to change state liquor laws to help local distributors, a year after similar legislation was vetoed by Gov. CONSOLIDATION After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the three-tier distribution system was created. The court reasoned that a franchise relationship didn’t exist because Shelton hadn’t granted Missouri Beverage the use of its trademarks.It requires alcohol producers and suppliers to sell their products to distributors, who then sell the beverages to retailers. It also ruled that a “community of interest” didn’t exist between the two parties, in part, because Missouri Beverage wasn’t economically dependent on Shelton.Garco refused, and alleged in its breach of contract lawsuit that Constellation is prohibited under Missouri law from terminating their agreement without good cause.“If Garco’s relationship is terminated by Constellation Brands, Garco will lose its customers and those business relationships it developed to a new wholesaler appointed by Constellation Brands, despite the fact that it was Garco’s efforts and business acumen that cultivated those relationships for the sale of Constellation Brands’ products in Missouri,” Garco states in the suit.

Alcohol importer Pernod Ricard also filed suit against Major Brands and St.Charles-based Glazer’s Midwest, a unit of Dallas-based Glazer’s Inc. District Court for the Western District of Missouri ruled that a business relationship between Missouri Beverage Co., a distributor, and Shelton, a Massachusetts-based supplier, was not that of a franchisee-franchisor under Missouri law.This time around, the Missouri Vintners Association, the winery owners group that opposed the legislation last year, is supporting it.Seeking to block the legislation is the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a Washington-based trade group that represents spirits suppliers, which opposes franchise protection for distributors nationally.In its lawsuit, Pernod Ricard argues Missouri franchise law doesn’t apply to its agreements with Major Brands or Glazer’s because sales of its products at either distributor are no more than 6 percent of their total sales — not enough to constitute a “community of interest,” according to Pernod Ricard.