Mast-Jägermeister SE has filed two lawsuits against the Kristall distillery in Kaluga before the Moscow Arbitration Court. Previously, the company had stopped its deliveries to Russia, after which Russian suppliers took up the vacated space.
First, the German company that makes the famous Jägermeister herbal liqueur suspended its shipments to Russia because of Western sanctions. Then, when Russian manufacturers happily filled the vacant market niche, it put pressure on its competitors and tried to ban Russians from offering their own herbal liqueurs.
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This went so far that a month ago the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia found that the Germans had violated the law “On Protection of Competition”. Now that the liqueur maker has failed to achieve anything with previous methods, it intends to take legal action against its Russian competitors, as well as against those who sell Russian herbal liqueurs.
Like the news agency RIA nowosti As announced today, Mast-Jägermeister SE has filed two lawsuits against Kaluga-based distillery Kristall before the Moscow Arbitration Court, with one lawsuit seeking around 315 million rubles (almost 4 million euros) in damages. The agency writes:
“The lawsuits were filed in court on May 19. The first lawsuit is against Kristall and retailer WineStyle, alleging one pecuniary claim (amount not specified) and two non-pecuniary claims.
The second lawsuit names ‘Kristall’ and the retail company ‘Krasnoye & Beloye’ as defendants. The lawsuit aims to protect exclusive rights. It also contains two non-property claims and one pecuniary claim seeking compensation of around 315 million rubles.”
How RIA nowosti stressed, both lawsuits have not yet been processed because the plaintiff failed to pay the state fee for filing a lawsuit. The German company has until June 26 to rectify the procedural violations, the news agency said.
The history of the conflict between Jägermeister and Kristall began after the German manufacturer – following the example of other foreign companies – decided to stop its deliveries to Russia. However, the desire to punish the Russians with sanctions fell back on the company: almost immediately afterwards, one of the oldest and most respected distilleries in Russia, Kristall from Kaluga, announced that it had started supplying herbal liqueurs “Ancient Healer” and “King Healer ” started that Jägermeister could replace. The company plans to produce around 300,000 to 360,000 decaliters of these drinks by 2023.
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Jägermeister SE, which had “left” the Russian market, then began to put pressure on its competitors. In a letter, the German company asked wholesale and retail chains to stop selling crystal liqueurs, calling the products counterfeit and claiming that the Russian recipes were identical to the German ones.
At that time, the crystal factory even felt compelled to call in the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia against pressure from the German manufacturer. The Antimonopoly Service confirmed that Mast-Jägermeister SE had made unlawful claims when it demanded that the Russian crystal distillery’s herbal liqueurs “Alter Heiler” and “König Heiler” be withdrawn from sale. In addition, the authority asked the German manufacturer to eliminate the violations.
Artyom Chubukin, head of the Russian plant, said in an interview:
“Kristall launched a new product – a herbal liqueur based on 52 herbs – and Jägermeister felt that we were direct competitors. Demands were made to stop the manufacture and launch of this product in the future and there were also demands to phase it out and to stop selling the product that we supplied to the retail chains. There are very few herbal liqueurs of this type on the Russian market. As for the use of the recipe, it is a proprietary development the management of Kristall. Our technologists have been developing their own recipe and selecting herbs since 2019. We have not copied Jägermeister as a liqueur in any way, and as far as appearance is concerned, the similarity has not yet been established. That company representatives say that our products are similar is only the opinion of these representatives.”
And now there is a court case against the Russian plant, in which several million euros in damages are being demanded. But it looks like the Russians won’t give up and a “battle of herbal liqueurs” is imminent.
Because today it was also announced that Kristall-Werk is filing a counterclaim against Jägermeister. According to the news agency RIA Novosti, the counterclaim amounts to around five hundred million rubles (almost six million euros). “The amount of compensation claimed not only takes into account our direct losses, but also the loss of profit and the damage to our image that Kristall suffered as a result of the opponent’s unfair competition,” the company told the agency. Ria Novosti quoted:
“It was also clarified that the ‘Alter Heiler’ liqueur is a proprietary product made according to the original recipe. ‘We understand that Mast-Jägermeister SE, having withdrawn from the Russian market, is suffering billions in losses suffered and is now trying to recover the lost profits… However, Kristall stands ready to submit to the court evidence and the results of expert opinions which fully confirm our position and our right”,
a spokesman for the crystal distillery continued.
more on the subject – After withdrawal from Russia: Complaint against Jägermeister for unfair competition