Missouri Franchise Law Does Not Apply to Liquor Supplier-Wholesaler Relationship

A federal appellate court declined to apply Missouri franchise law to an oral business relationship between a supplier and a liquor wholesaler. Shelton Brothers, Inc., a beer supplier based in Massachusetts, entered into an oral agreement with MoBev, a Missouri liquor wholesaler, giving MoBev the option to buy and sell Shelton’s beer. MoBev sued when Shelton declined to continue the relationship, but the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that MoBev was not a franchisee of Shelton under Missouri law. Specifically, MoBev could not establish that Shelton had granted them an exclusive license to use its trademark, and that Shelton and MoBev did not have a “community of interest in the marketing of goods or services.”

Mo. Beverage Corp., Inc. v. Shelton Bros., Inc., 8th Cir. No. 11-2456, Feb. 28, 2012.

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