In May 2011 World Brands Australia placed an order with Erdinger for a container of beer that was intended for sale in the lead-up to Oktoberfest that year.
The beer was delivered, but World Brands claimed Erdinger failed to supply it with appropriate equipment to dispense it from the kegs provided – so the WA company withheld payment of the remaining €7,086 it owed on the invoice.
In July 2014, Erdinger obtained a judgment in a German court against World Brands for €25,278, plus interest and costs. The amount comprised the unpaid invoice plus the value of the unreturned kegs.
The Supreme Court of WA recently threw out the German brewer’s unusual bid to have this judgment recognised in Australia. The court found that the companies had never entered into a formal agreement and the German court had no jurisdiction here in any case.
World Brands director Paul Wormley told Australian Brews News the beer supplied by Erdinger had arrived too late for Oktoberfest, seriously inconveniencing his customers, and the kegs were almost out of date.
“They had about three or four weeks left on them. They also didn’t supply any couplings for the kegs to dispense it, even though we requested many times,” he said.
“They sent no supporting promotional material to come with it, which is what they’d promised,” he said.
He said the botched order was the final straw in World Brands’ dealings with Erdinger. The souring relationship was evidenced by an email sent to the company by Wormley, that was quoted in the court decision.
“I am still waiting to hear what you are doing with the Beach Avenue Wholesalers in Vic and why he continues to sell stock to the nationals [Coles and Woolworths] in our state of WA,” the email read.
“It makes a mockery of why I continue to promote Erdinger in the on-premise when he takes all the benefit via the two major national accounts in retail.”
Wormley told Australian Brews News that 200 or so of Erdinger’s kegs meant for Oktoberfest 2011 events still sit in World Brands’ warehouse.
“I’ll happily return them, but they’ve got to pay for the storage for the last three years,” he said.
He is now pursuing Erdinger for his legal costs. The German company did not respond to a request for comment.