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ST. LOUIS – A jury on Friday awarded $3.3 million to a company that distributes Dr Pepper and other beverages in Jefferson and south St. Louis counties in a dispute that began with a new method of managing product deliveries.

The American Bottling Company terminated a 27-year relationship with Paul Beverage Co., of Imperial, in 2017. 

Paul sued that November in federal court in St. Louis, alleging wrongful termination of the contract.

In legal filings, lawyers for Paul said that problems began after ABC requested that Paul begin "cross-docking." The practice meant less product sitting in Paul's warehouse, because it would come ready for the customer from ABC in pallets. But Paul's lawyers said the product arrived late, damaged or not at all, the filings say. Other distributors also had problems when ABC requested that they start cross-docking, the filings say.

Lawyers for ABC said that the contract's termination followed years of customer complaints, letters identifying problems and solutions and in-person meetings.

But jurors on Friday found in favor of Paul, court filings show.

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