Left Hand Brewing seeks $6 million in damages for Milk Stout Nitro fouled by wild yeast
Lawsuit moved to U.S. District Court in Denver seeks payment for factory downtime, loss of market share
By KIRK MITCHELL | kmitchell@denverpost.com | The Denver Post
Left Hand Brewing is now suing a yeast distributor in Denver federal court claiming the company’s over-active yeast triggered a $2 million recall of Milk Stout Nitro.

The federal lawsuit was filed on Thursday against White Labs Inc. by Indian Peaks Brewing, which does business as Left Hand Brewing.

Longmont-based Left Hand is seeking compensatory damages for recalled and wasted beer, lost sales and revenue. It is also asking a judge to compensate the stout brewer for damage to its brand and lost market share, the federal lawsuit says.

It is seeking damages of at least $6 million from White Labs, according to the lawsuit filed by Holland & Hart attorneys Maureen Witt, J. Lee Gray and Beau Bump.

Until late 2016, Milk Stout Nitro — nicknamed “America’s Stout” — garnered a significant share of the national and international craft beer market for stout-style beers, the lawsuit says.

But its market share decreased for the first time after White Labs’ tainted yeast caused over-pressurized bottles, broken bottles, off flavors and “disruption of the distinctive nitrogen cascade,” says the lawsuit which was transferred from Boulder District Court.

Left Hand Brewing, 1265 Boston Ave., Longmont, was forced to recall $2 million of beer product including Milk Stout Nitro, Extrovert IPA and Warrior Fresh Hop IPA.

The brewer also destroyed several thousand barrels of unpackaged beer and shut down beer production for more than two weeks in order to disassemble and sanitize all production equipment.

“Left Hand has incurred millions of dollars in monetary damages,” the lawsuit says.

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