Mill Street Brewer Claims that Suit by Sapporo Subsidiary, Sleeman is Without Merit; Craft Beer Making is Supposed to be Fun!

    TORONTO, Nov. 2 /CNW/ - Mill Street Brewery, a leading provider of craft
beer in Toronto, denies any wrongdoing in response to a $3 million lawsuit
brought against it by Sleeman Breweries Ltd, a subsidiary of Japanese beer
conglomerate, Sapporo Inc.. The recent action, initiated against former
Sleeman regional sales director David Mitchell and Mill Street Brewery - his
new employer, contends that Mitchell joined Mill Street in contravention of a
non-compete agreement that he had signed and took confidential information
with him and shared this information with Mill Street. Mill Street Brewmaster,
Joel Manning, says the lawsuit has no merit. "We don't need a competitor's
information to make and sell great beers. Our beers are getting a lot of
attention these days but, this is a result that we hadn't anticipated."
    Mill Street Brewery filed its statement of defence today with the Ontario
Superior Court in Toronto. "This seems to be more about a beer industry
Goliath trying to squash a David beer brewer. We care about making beer. We
believe that this is an extraordinary attempt to hurt one of Ontario's most
popular craft brewers," Manning contends.
    David Mitchell shed some personal light on his situation at Sleeman. "I
was increasingly unhappy at Sleeman and this certainly didn't improve when the
company was bought by Sapporo. Finally, when I was passed over for a promotion
I engaged a corporate recruiter to find a job elsewhere." The recruiter
matched Mitchell with Mill Street and the winning combination was made.
Mitchell was excited about the move to a smaller, successful company where
quality and beer crafting are a top priority. "I have admitted to mistakenly
backing up personal and industry files before I left Sleeman but have sworn an
affidavit stating that I never used or shared confidential information with
    Brewmaster Manning points out that hiring practice in the beer industry
differs by organization. "Mill Street does not require its employees to sign
non-competes. If anybody was not happy working for Mill Street, the last thing
we would want is for them to stick around."
    Irvine Weitzman, CEO of Mill Street Brewery, believes that the lawsuit
has absolutely no merit. "Sleeman commissioned an independent forensic audit
of Mr. Mitchell's computer and his storage device, which Mr. Mitchell provided
willingly. Our understanding is that the audit confirmed that just as we and
David have repeatedly stated - no files of a confidential nature to Sleeman
were ever shared with Mill Street Brewery."
    Weitzman adds, "We take great pride in our award-winning beers. Producing
and marketing innovative and interesting beer is a lot of fun. We are proudly
Canadian and actually just want to be left alone to excel in our craft and
don't want to be run-over by a branch of a conglomerate operating ten thousand
miles away."

    About Mill Street Brewery

    Mill Street Brewery produces handcrafted beers and ales and operates a
brew pub in Toronto's historic Distillery District. The Mill Street beers have
won awards every year since its inception in 2002 and the Mill Street Brewpub
received the 2007 Golden Tap awards for the best Brew Pub in Ontario. Mill
Street Brewery produces a variety of beers to suit every taste, including
small batches of seasonal brews. Mill Street offers a number of boutique beers
including Original Organic Lager (with 100% certified organic ingredients),
Tankhouse Ale, Stock Ale and Coffee Porter and most recently a wonderful
Belgian Wit. For more information please visit

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Peter Francis, for Mill Street
Brewery,, (916) 715-1646; Josef Zankowicz, for Mill Street
Brewery,, (647) 500-1563

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