The High Court has dismissed a suit filed by Keroche Breweries against East African Breweries Ltd (EABL) over beer bottles tussle.
In a ruling, Justice Alfred Mabeya referred the case to the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) to complete investigations within 120 days.
“Accordingly, I uphold the preliminary objection and strike out the application and plaint. I direct that the third defendant (CAK) to continue with the process it had commenced in respect of the complaint touching on the complaint herein and deal with it as per the law provided,” ruled Justice Mabeya.
The judge ruled that the findings gathered after 120 days will help the court make an informed decision on the matter.
“The reason why the doctrine of exhaustion is held in deference is because of the right to access to justice. First, it promotes alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Secondly, it reduces the litigation in our courts and thirdly it affords the parties an additional layer of a forum where the parties can air their grievances. That expands the right to access to justice,” said Justice Mabeya.
Six distributors accused EABL of buying universally shaped bottles and embossing them with their unique logos. This, they said, limited production and market access by other beer makers.
The six accused EABL and Kenya Breweries Limited of trying to phase Keroche out of the market.
The six include Alexander Mugo, Jacob Wamiti, Phasty Wanjitu Wachira, Samuel Kamau, Catherine Wanjiru and Herman Mwaura.
The bottle in question is the 500ml brown euro bottle.