G-Eazy-backed liquor start-up Stillhouse sues Bacardi for extortion in $100M lawsuit: Attorney Skip Miller says they look forward to day in court
Stillhouse, currently worth more than $100M, said they will be forced to close down their business if Bacardi isn’t stopped, despite their fast-growing success
Brad Beckerman the founder of Stillhouse, a spirit startup that has rapper G-Eazy as a celebrity promoter, investor and co-creative director, filed a $100 million lawsuit against Bacardi Limited and associated companies and individuals for fraud, extortion and other charges in Delaware state court Wednesday.
The lawsuit claims that the rum-making giant convinced Stillhouse’s CEO, Brad Beckerman, to provide them inside access and control of Stillhouse, which sells its alcohol in trendy cans that look like the ones that contain paint thinner, through a series of false representations. Apart from that, Stillhouse also claimed rapper G-Eazy is currently in mortal danger due to the financial malfeasance that was caused by Bacardi.
Bacardi has responded to a $100m lawsuit filed by Stillhouse Spirits, claiming the complaint is "filled with inaccuracies" and that "we intend to defend this action vigorously” https://t.co/10VyjQyq9S pic.twitter.com/pqkiocdcjR— The Spirits Business (@spiritsbusiness) March 28, 2019
In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Stillhouse's attorney involved in the case, Skip Miller, Partner at Miller Barondess, revealed: “On the heels of Stillhouse’s best year in company history, Bacardi and its investing partner Quadrant Capital are executing a scheme to wipe out the other equity owners, take the assets of the company and leave Beckerman, the founder, with nothing. These are very troubling facts as laid out in the lawsuit. We look forward to our day in Court.”
Stillhouse, which is currently worth more than $100 million, also added that they will be forced to close down their business if Bacardi isn’t stopped, despite their fast-growing success throughout the United States. Stillhouse was launched in 2016 and offers a wide range of whiskey, black bourbon and other spirits.
The lawsuit claims, "Bacardi convinced Beckerman to provide it inside access and control of Stillhouse through a series of false representations and promises of support. To induce Beckerman to relinquish majority ownership and control of Stillhouse, Bacardi represented to Beckerman that it would in the future bring Stillhouse 'in house,' by buying all of the equity of Stillhouse, including Beckerman's, at a fair market price."
The lawsuit also claims that through their ownership, Bacardi has stopped Stillhouse from trying to get financed by alternative sources by cutting off the cash flow of the company and ruining its business with vendors and retailers like Wal-Mart, Albertsons, Vons, Costco, Target and BevMo.
In an exclusive statement to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), a spokesperson from Bacardi said: "Bacardi is an entrepreneurial company with a proven track record of working with new and emerging brands to grow them into household names. We made a minority investment in Stillhouse over four years ago because we believed it could be an exciting and disruptive product, and we provided the company with significant ongoing financial and other support."
They further claimed Stillhouse was on the verge of bankruptcy. "Despite our substantial backing, management repeatedly failed to deliver on the company’s business plan and Stillhouse is now on the verge of bankruptcy. Under the leadership of CEO Brad Beckerman, the company has repeatedly failed to deliver the growth promised, and continued to spend beyond the Board-approved budgets," Bacardi's spokerperson added.
"For nearly six months, we have been diligently working with the other shareholders to find a solution that would save the business. It is very unfortunate that Mr. Beckerman would jeopardize Stillhouse’s ability to continue as a going concern by unilaterally filing this frivolous lawsuit just as we were nearing a mutually beneficial resolution. The complaint is filled with inaccuracies and misstatements and we look forward to providing the entire story at the appropriate time. We intend to defend this action vigorously.”
Other than Bacardi and its associated companies named in the suit, there are other individuals who are named in the suit. They include Bacardi vice chairman Barry E. Kabalkin, Bacardi executive in-house counsel Scott Roades and Thomas Brener, who sits in Stillhouse's board, as a representative of Quadrant.