Halifax brewery facing lawsuit for allegedly botching 59,000 cans of beer

A New Brunswick beverage business is accusing a Halifax brewery of screwing up the recipe for tens of thousands of cans of beer and jeopardizing the company’s future, according to court documents.

Lawyers for Think Fermentation, which operates as Think Brewing, said in a statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in April that the company entered into an agreement with Halifax’s Wrought Iron Brewing Company, which operates as Good Robot Brewing, in January 2023. 

The Moncton-based company claims Good Robot was supposed to produce and package 59,000 cans of beer involving five different flavours as part of a first batch, according to the documents.

The deal was supposed to help “reinvigorate” Think Brewing, which was purchased in 2022 by a new owner who wanted to restructure the company to sell and produce more alcoholic beverages but did not have brewing facilities, the documents said.

“Good Robot was aware that Think’s plans for a successful relaunch depended on the batch of beer being identical to what had previously been sold at NB Liquor outlets,” the statement of claim said. 

Think Brewing claims Good Robot failed to follow product specifications, recipes and ingredients, resulting in a beer that differed from its previous product — and losses of around $150,000, the documents said.

Good Robot claims it’s owed over $25K

In a statement of defence filed last week, lawyers for Good Robot said the brewery followed specific instructions agreed upon before brewing began and representatives of Think Brewing were involved in every step of production and packaging.

Think Brewing agreed to changes in specifications in order to scale production to Good Robot’s facility, according to the statement. The documents said these types of adjustments are common in the brewing industry.

The Halifax brewery “specifically denies” the quantity of beer involved in the first batch and that all beers being brewed had previously been sold at New Brunswick liquor stores, according to the documents. The statement of defence said total production in the first batch was 46,728 cans. 

Good Robot knew Think Brewing’s plan for a successful relaunch hinged on the batch of beer tasting identically to earlier batches that were sold at NB Liquor outlets, the lawsuit says. (Think Brewing/Facebook)

Think Brewing owes Good Robot thousands of dollars as part of the initial agreement between the two companies, according to a counterclaim filed by the Halifax brewery on the same day as the statement of defence.

Good Robot alleges Think Brewing is still liable for at least $25,000 to cover the costs of production and packaging, the counterclaim said, as well as costs related to things such as increased labour due to improper labelling, packaging, shipping insurance and storage fees.

Think Brewing has not picked up the finished first batch, which remains at Good Robot’s facility, the documents said. 

Good Robot’s plan to brew for others

The lawsuit against Good Robot comes after the company has tried to increase production, including contract brewing or making beer for other breweries.

The company moved its brewing operations from its Robie Street facility in north-end Halifax to a location in Elmsdale, N.S., a few years ago to allow for more production.

Management said the move was to “future-proof,” after Good Robot had to lay off most of its staff when the pandemic arrived.

Lawyers for both companies did not respond to requests for comment by publication time.

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