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"Jamaican" beer not brewed in Jamaica

So, two imbibers go to court

Red Stripe "Jamacian" Lager
Red Stripe "Jamacian" Lager

The San Diego law firm of Robbins Arroyo, representing two local plaintiffs, filed a suit in federal court in San Diego against Diageo, the big London alcoholic beverage firm. It is a putative class action suit on behalf of all drinkers of Red Stripe beer.

The gist is that Red Stripe beer is not brewed in Jamaica. Diageo uses clever phrasing in its promotion. Red Stripe is called a "Jamaican Style Lager" that contains the "taste of Jamaica." For 80 years, "Red Stripe has embodied the spirit, rhythm and pulse of Jamaica and its people." The bottle structure is short, squat, and brown — closely associated with Jamaican beer bottles, says the complaint.

However, on the border of the labels are these words: "Brewed & Bottled by Red Stripe Beer Company, Latrobe, PA." The plaintiffs contend that this disclaimer is in "obscure white text," and the consumer can't see those words until after he or she has purchased a six-pack or twelve-pack.

The suit, charging unfair and deceptive practices, was filed July 29.

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Red Stripe "Jamacian" Lager
Red Stripe "Jamacian" Lager

The San Diego law firm of Robbins Arroyo, representing two local plaintiffs, filed a suit in federal court in San Diego against Diageo, the big London alcoholic beverage firm. It is a putative class action suit on behalf of all drinkers of Red Stripe beer.

The gist is that Red Stripe beer is not brewed in Jamaica. Diageo uses clever phrasing in its promotion. Red Stripe is called a "Jamaican Style Lager" that contains the "taste of Jamaica." For 80 years, "Red Stripe has embodied the spirit, rhythm and pulse of Jamaica and its people." The bottle structure is short, squat, and brown — closely associated with Jamaican beer bottles, says the complaint.

However, on the border of the labels are these words: "Brewed & Bottled by Red Stripe Beer Company, Latrobe, PA." The plaintiffs contend that this disclaimer is in "obscure white text," and the consumer can't see those words until after he or she has purchased a six-pack or twelve-pack.

The suit, charging unfair and deceptive practices, was filed July 29.

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Comments
56

Actually, the photo used with the story seems to be one of the real thing. The word "style" isn't shown on the label, and they also say it is imported. But I don't doubt that Diageo is playing games with it, brewing it in Pennsylvania. (I think Latrobe is the source of "Rolling Rock.") And the deception is intentional.

But, on the other hand, if you like it, do you care where it was brewed? And if it really was from Jamaica, would that make you like it more?

There are many beers now brewed in No America under license. Lowenbrau of Munich Hafbrau Haus fame was being brewed in the US, as I recall, under license many years ago. Oh, they said the formula was the same, but did the US product really adhere to the German purity laws? Guinness' Stout is now from Canada, not Ireland. And so it goes.

Aug. 2, 2015

Visduh: Yes, several so-called foreign beers are brewed in the U.S., purportedly using the overseas formula. The question in this suit is whether Diageo is pushing the envelope too far in its promotions. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

Eff theshe gyes can' evun spel Deeayegoe, wha' mkes ya ass u m thay cud git a labul writ rite in th' firshh plashe? Jes' kull it, guyshe, an' hav ennother wun!

Aug. 3, 2015

Twister: Does Jamaican beer pack that much of a punch? Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

I wooden tush th' stuf, evun f' maidissenul porpoises.

Aug. 3, 2015

Twister: No trips to Jamaica in your future? Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

Lissen, i cud kar lest whar hit cums frum, onley howe it tassts. wheean Carl'sbergen wasn' phoren no mor, I noo 't rat a way. Same whey wi' m' favrite Japonees bier--whut Sapporo wans 't to tase lik Moleskin frum Canader, huh?

Aug. 3, 2015

Twister: Any beer that tastes like moleskin should not be consumed. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 4, 2015

I like my beer cold. I only drink beer imported from the store.

Aug. 2, 2015

AlexClarke: You mean you refuse to buy a room-temperature six-pack and chill it in your refrigerator? Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

Naw, naw, Donnybowe, ya don' unnerstan; Yew hafta go inna the s, suppermarkit to slepe i' ouf inna cool p, plase. D'd i evver telya 'bout th' tim. Th' tim . . . th' tiem, th' tium . . . ooo, skewer 't, i fergit . . . zzzzzzzz.

Aug. 3, 2015

Twister: Will this lawsuit get quashed....er, sloshed? Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

me tak uh setulment.

Aug. 3, 2015

Twister: Will you be able to sign your name on the papers? Best, Don Bauider

Aug. 3, 2015

'f i kin 'member 't.

Aug. 4, 2015

Don: I import both cold and room temperature beer from the local market and chill or keep them chilled in my very own refrigerator and if I imbibe too much I sound like Twister.

Aug. 3, 2015

AlexClarke: Twister is masterful at writing prose like a lush would. Does he have experience? Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

Malishus gawsip! i uh resamble tha' re marck.

bud eff yew mus' no, i haad th' bes' teechurs tha' ayver greased Gawd's grean urth.

Aug. 4, 2015

Emmett McMahon: And there are pizza restaurants not run by Italians. The corned beef you buy probably was not imported from Ireland. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

Now puleeze donna tella me tha birra Moretti ish maid bye Hunneyekan!

An gues wha kinna wadder goes inna peeroni tu mak itt tase lik Koors!

Aug. 3, 2015

Twister: Supposedly, Rocky Mountain waters go into Coors. I don't drink, but I keep hearing that the problem with Coors is not what kind of water it contains, but the fact that it has too much water per bottle. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

Waal, ain't there mowtto, "Ish th' vasser?"

Aug. 4, 2015

don bauder Being of Irish decent, I would be happy to claim corned beef as Irish created . Unfortunately, it isn't so.

Aug. 3, 2015

danfogel: Damn! Every St. Patty's Day we and friends play Irish music and eat corned beef and cabbage.

Incidentally, the Irish music is by Beethoven. He wrote the piano accompaniment for Irish folk songs. We have a set of complete Beethoven, so we have the Irish songs for which he did the piano part. Haydn did the same for the Welsh. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

Pierre Ordinaire: Is you last name really Ordinaire? And are you at the Sorbonne? Student or faculty? Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

Hoo gives a sheeit, long as it RIMES! Hic! Ennybuddie frum the Vest Bank 's a perfesser--jes askum.

Aug. 3, 2015

Twister: The next time I go to Paris to visit the Sorbonne, I will go be sent to the left bank while others go to the right bank. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

don bauder While I'm quite sure that Pierre Ordinaire is no doubt someones actual name, I wonder if that is the case here. That being said however, with the subject this of articles being an alcoholic beverage, it make one wonder if it is merely coincidence that the poster has same name as the French doctor who created absinthe.

Aug. 3, 2015

danfogel: As so often happens, you are feeding me information I didn't know. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

I am shalked, I tel youse, SHALKED, tha a merican cumpany wud a tempt t' tempt ME w' enny kin' uf FALSHE AVERTISHIN' to whish I um avershe! URP!

Aug. 3, 2015

Twister: Sorry to say, the American operation of London-based Diageo is a co-defendant in the suit. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

Another law firm getting desperate since the ADA lawsuit scams are not paying off ?

Aug. 3, 2015

Murphyjunk: Yes, those ADA lawsuit scams are not paying off these days. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

What are the damages? If this is an issue to them, why can't they just stop drinking Red Stripe?

I really hate our litigious society. "I'm unhappy, who can I sue today?" I hope the court comes to it's senses, dismisses this case as frivolous, and hits the plaintiffs with court fees.

Aug. 3, 2015

I agree. If fraud is being committed then it should be prosecuted by the criminal justice system or the company should be fined by an appropriate regulatory agency.

I think in cases like this the "victims" "damages" - and I use those terms loosely - cannot possibly amount to more than a few dollars. Clearly the lawyers are the primary beneficiary of suits like this.

If it was up to me I would ban all class action suits unless each member of the class has significant amount of damage (say > $5k / person).

Aug. 3, 2015

ImJustABill: I have little enthusiasm for suits like this, but it is a tragedy that Congress has stomped on class action securities suits. The SEC is not doing its job. Class action suits once filled the vacuum and made crooks ante up to victims. Now that is rare. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

I suppose the lack of regulation on Wall Street might be so bad that class action suits are the lesser of 2 evils. But I think fundamental reform should at a minimum include re-instating Glass-Steagall (even Rick Perry is in favor of that), adding mandatory prison time for serious fraud and securities violations.

Also I think the revolving door between SEC and Wall Street needs to be closed somewhat. Pay SEC agents and lawyers more but make them sign agreements to not join Wall Street firms for at least 5 years after SEC work.

Aug. 4, 2015

jnojr: Just about everyone is fed up with our litigious society. Plaintiff and defense lawyers aren't. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

Jamaican me thirsty.

Aug. 3, 2015

Ponzi: At last -- a good pun. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

I wonder if any of the recently legalized products in CO and WA might reference Jamaican origins. I remember reading that some of Bob Marley's family might be licensing the Marley name for some products.

Aug. 3, 2015

"Fine Cannabis Products" - "Marley Natural is committed to cultivating and crafting every product we will offer* with respect for nature, responsibility, and compassion."

http://www.marleynatural.com/products/

Aug. 3, 2015

Ponzi: Marley, Barley -- you get your kicks any way you can. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 4, 2015

Yeah I thought there was something like that. Thanks Ponzi!

Aug. 4, 2015

ImJustABill: I read a lot about the Colorado marijuana business and I have never seen Jamaica's name come up. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

I hope the Reader is compensating everyone appropriately for this high level comedy writing. Extra points for making dull legal/financial news tolerable. Thanks Twister, Ponzi, Don & assoc.

Aug. 3, 2015

swell: The way the stock market has been going of late, the only cure is Jamaican suds. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

Vershoe iz itz oan re-word!

Aug. 3, 2015

Twister: Great pun number two! Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 3, 2015

claiming imported from and unsanitary 3rd world country is something to brag about ?

Aug. 4, 2015

That's why beer is better than water in "third-world" countries. That may figure into the history and development of beer.

Aug. 4, 2015

Twister: I wouldn't be surprised if that were true. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 4, 2015

Murphyjunk: Better sanitation may be the reason the beer is brewed in Latrobe. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 4, 2015

MJ, you maybe ONTO something! What better stimulus for making better beer when your water is bad?

Aug. 4, 2015

Twister: The consensus seems to be that you are better off drinking beer, even if the water therein is bad, than you are drinking a glass of the water that is bad. Best, Don Bauder

Aug. 5, 2015

and the more you drink the more sense it makes

Aug. 5, 2015

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