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Anheuser-Busch

THE INTERNATIONAL brewery's 1997 removal of a Florida distributorship from the family of baseball legend Roger Maris became a $72.6 million embarrassment. The distributorship, which served the Gainesville-Ocala area, was given to Maris's by August Busch, Jr., as a reward for Maris's role in the St. Louis Cardinals's 1967 World Series victory. Busch then owned both the baseball team and the St. Louis-based brewery.

In the mid-1990s, Anheuser-Busch started consolidating wholesalers into larger regions. The company offered the Maris family $20 million for Maris Distributing. When the offer was refused, Anheuser-Busch terminated the wholesaler's contract, alleging that the Marises had sold outdated beer and failed to respond to customer complaints. The Marises accused the brewer of engaging in a smear campaign to justify its giving the ...

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