Molson, Canada's biggest beer maker, has been made vulnerable to a hostile takeover by a bitter family dispute that has been brewing for decades. Five board members have already quit in the row over whether deputy chairman Ian Molson is a "real Molson". The company was built up after 19-year-old British immigrant John Molson bought a share of a log-cabin brewery in 1790. He later bought out his partner for £100 and since then ownership has passed down to each generation's eldest son, with other relatives brought in as "hired help" to run day-to-day affairs. But when Eric Molson, 66, stepped down after 16 years as chairman last May, distant cousin Ian thought he should take over. When Eric opposed him on the grounds he wasn't a "real Molson", Harvard-trained banker Ian, 49, resigned and organised a shareholder revolt. Meanwhile the brewery's share of the Canadian beer market has slowly been falling from 53% 15 years ago to just 44% today. The Business 04/07/04 page 12