Boston Beer sues San Francisco's Anchor Brewing [Updated]
Boston Beer Corp., brewer of Sam Adams beer, has sued a former sales employee and his new employer, San Francisco rival Anchor Brewing Co., in a battle over alleged trade secrets.
Judd Hausner, who resigned Sept. 8 as Boston Beer’s Northern California district manager, began working for Anchor Brewing as a managing distributor in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties.
Within weeks, Boston Beer filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts claiming that Hausner broke his employment contract, which prohibited him from sharing company secrets or working for a competitor for a year after leaving Boston Beer.
In its complaint, Boston Beer claims it taught Hausner everything he knows about the beer business: “His expertise in the beer business is Boston Beer, exclusively.”
The Boston company also alleges that Anchor Brewing interfered with its contract by hiring Hausner in order to obtain trade secrets.
Anchor Steam said Boston Beer is getting all hopped up over nothing.
[updated at 3:55 p.m. with comment.]
“We don’t believe Judd Hausner had any trade secrets of Boston Beer company and we would not want any and we couldn’t use them," said Wesley Kinnear, Anchor Brewing’s attorney. “We’re a tiny company. Boston Beer sells well over 2 million barrels of beer a year, we sell about 100,000.”
Kinnear added that Hausner is not the suds mastermind that Boston Beer is making him out to be.
“We’re talking about a young guy," Kinnear said. "He doesn’t supervise anybody. He’s just a young guy selling beer.”
An official hearing date has not been set.
-- Rosanna Xia
Photo: A selection of holiday ales, including Anchor Steam. Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times