A federal court judge has ruled that 68,000 cases of Schlitz beer and malt liquor is unfit for sale and should be destroyed.
The ruling delighted the brewery. Agreeing with a suit filed by Schlitz to "protect (its) reputation," U.S. District Court Judge C. Stanley Blair ruled in Baltimore Thursday that the beer and malt liquor should be destroyed because it is impossible to determine how severely it was damaged when a warehouse roof collapsed on it Feb. 21.
A total of 90,000 cans of beer were in a Jessup, Md., warehouse when the roof collapsed under the weight of two feed of snow.
Schlitz immediately sent its director of quality assurance, Phillip A. Himmelfarb, to the scene. After nine days of testing, Himmelfarb round 22,000 cases fit to be sold, but said the other 68,000 should be destroyed.
At that point, Albright Wholesale, which had purchased the beer, and the Insurance Company of North America, with whom Albright has insurance, sent the beer to a New Jersey salvage company to try to save it.
Schlitz then went to court to have the beer destroyed, claiming that since many of the cans were severely dented and rused, they could be contaminated and, even if uncontaminated, the beer could be flat, hurting the 130-year-old company's reputation.
Blair went along with Schlitz, finding that although it was possible some of the beer might not be damaged the only way to find out was to open it-which wguld end any hope of selling it.
The insurance company thus stands to lose about $300,000-the value of the beer that will be destroyed.