The battle for discovery and distribution is one of the oldest problems to plague beverage entrepreneurs — and that battle has spilled over into the courts in Louisiana, where a dispute between a marketer and one of his distribution partners has resulted in a lawsuit.
Dewmar International, producer of LEAN Slow Motion Potion, is being sued by Corey Powell of Diversified Beverage Group, LLC., a company Powell formed primarily to distribute LEAN.
Filed on Jan. 19 in a Louisiana district court, the lawsuit seems to be based largely on a disputed verbal contract; the only sure thing in the case seems to be a multitude of emails that both sides say support their side of the story.
Powell, who filed the lawsuit against Dewmar, claims the company promised to pay him $4 for every case of LEAN Slow Motion Potion that he distributed to both stores and other sub-distributors as a master distributor for his area. Powell also said they promised him money for any meetings he set up with distributors elsewhere to expand LEAN’s geographic footprint. He says Dewmar now owes him roughly $200,000.
“My lawsuit is based on everything that was promised to me,” says Powell. “He tried to cut me out 100 percent.”
But Marco Moran, Dewmar’s CEO, says Powell failed to distribute LEAN, and that the meetings he claims to have initiated were actually a product of Dewar’s promotional efforts. In other words, Moran said, Powell didn’t do any of the heavy lifting to get the brand noticed by distributors.
“If anyone in the beverage industry – any distributor – saw what he was suing for, they’d think it was absurd,” says Moran. “He attempted to get three distributors and failed miserably.”
Moran claims he gave Powell, a former college buddy, multiple chances to build a distribution network for Dewmar, even after one distributor complained about Powell.
“I gave him a six-month period because he was literally starting from zero,” said Moran.
But even after those six months Powell still didn’t really have a business, according to Moran.
“He had no trucks and no land,” Moran says.
Powell also says Moran got greedy, which is why Dewmar never paid out. But the biggest hurt was the damage done to Powell’s business, both through lack of revenue and the undercutting of his prices by distributors that he says he introduced LEAN to.
“It hurt it 100 percent — I’m not making a dime,” Powell said. “I haven’t even made $2,000 on LEAN.”
The suit, Powell says, is one of several leveled against Moran, and that there are more being filed from distributors. He also claims Moran is taking the company public because he is going to lose control of it.
However, Moran says that, after giving Powell opportunities, he has just experienced badmouthing and backstabbing, and that he was taking Dewmar public because he was offered several million dollars.
“Everything you can find that Corey has said about me is probably mudslinging on his behalf, and if you can find proof of any of it, let me know,” he said. “My attorney is going all-out on him.”