Carlsberg, the Danish brewing company, is locked in a bitter feud with union leaders after reclassifying beer-making as an "essential service" to avoid industrial action by its workers.To a union-supporting beer geek, this decision--both affirming the intrinsic value of beer and denying workers a right to strike--must be like watching your worst enemy drive your new car off a cliff.
Staff at the beer giant's brewery in Lithuania voted to walk out over pay and conditions but were prevented from doing so after a court ruled that the business was "vitally essential".
The strike ballot was subsequently declared invalid and the stoppage illegal, with the walk out suspended for at least 30 days.
The ruling by the Lithuanian court places Carlsberg's beer-making services in the same category as medical supplies and drinking water, after the company successfully argued that no strike should take place during its "high season".
Unite, Britain's biggest workers union, was drawn into the row, with Jennie Formby, the national officer, calling the situation "ridiculous".
"This is probably the most ridiculous decision in the world. Of course many people think beer is great but it does not save lives," she told The Daily Mirror newspaper.
But, then again, this is Carlsberg Lager we're talking about here.