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If it ain't a craft beer, sue!

San Diegan says MillerCoors'(™) Blue Moon (™) is illegitimate

A blue moon — not the logo
A blue moon — not the logo

Evan Parent in late April went to Superior Court to prove that Blue Moon beer is not a craft beer, as its brewer, MillerCoors, claims. Parent says he used to drink Blue Moon and was deceived by false advertising into believing that it is a craft beer. The San Diego law firm of Clark & Treglio is bringing the suit for Parent.

The suit is a putative class action on behalf of all who purchased Blue Moon in California for purposes of consumption, not resale. The suit charges that the Brewers Association, which represents microbrewers, defines a craft brewer as one producing less than 6 million barrels of beer annually, is less than 25 percent owned or controlled by a non-craft brewer, and uses only traditional or innovative ingredients.

MillerCoors does not qualify, says Parent, who charges deceptive and misleading advertising and unfair competition, among other transgressions.

MillerCoors told the Milwaukee Business Journal that there are "countless definitions" of craft beer. The suit will go flat, predicts MillerCoors.

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A blue moon — not the logo
A blue moon — not the logo

Evan Parent in late April went to Superior Court to prove that Blue Moon beer is not a craft beer, as its brewer, MillerCoors, claims. Parent says he used to drink Blue Moon and was deceived by false advertising into believing that it is a craft beer. The San Diego law firm of Clark & Treglio is bringing the suit for Parent.

The suit is a putative class action on behalf of all who purchased Blue Moon in California for purposes of consumption, not resale. The suit charges that the Brewers Association, which represents microbrewers, defines a craft brewer as one producing less than 6 million barrels of beer annually, is less than 25 percent owned or controlled by a non-craft brewer, and uses only traditional or innovative ingredients.

MillerCoors does not qualify, says Parent, who charges deceptive and misleading advertising and unfair competition, among other transgressions.

MillerCoors told the Milwaukee Business Journal that there are "countless definitions" of craft beer. The suit will go flat, predicts MillerCoors.

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Comments
25

A real law firm took this case? Apparently the claims that the recession has been difficult on lawyers are true.

May 2, 2015

On the contrary, some people take their beer very seriously, and the craft beer business is growing like mad. The highway 78 corridor is becoming a hotbed of craft and micro brews, breweries, brewpubs, and eateries with huge selections of specialty beers.

May 2, 2015

I agree it's a huge business and I am a big fan of San Diego county beers. I recently had lunch (and several delicious samplers - I love the grunion Ale) at Ballast Point's new location in Miramar.

But I don't see how you could expect to win a lawsuit for somebody using a term in a different way than someone else. If the craft (didn't it used to be microbrew ) business community wants a special certification for craft beers than it seems like they could have a sticker or label that some organization certifies. Or have some sort of legal definition of "craft" beer.

The term "craft" is too nebulous. It sounds like their definition is too nebulous. Look at this line: "uses only traditional or innovative ingredients." What is that supposed to mean? Isn't just about ANY ingredient either traditional or innovative?

I'm no expert on either beers (other than that I really like them and I really like San Diego craft beers) or the law but to me it seems the term "craft beer" is too nebulous.

I could be wrong of course.

May 2, 2015

ImJustABill: "Craft" and "microbrew" are a bit nebuloius. And MillerCoors or Budweiser could have smaller subsidiary operations making craft beers. But let's let a judge decide. Best, Don Bauder

May 2, 2015

Well, Judge Bill rules this one is a frivolous case! But I guess I'll have to accept the decision of the real judge.

May 3, 2015

ImJustABill: If you get appointed to the bench, you won't be able to submit comments to this blog. We will miss you. Best, Don Bauder

May 4, 2015

Maybe if I got to sentence Peevey it would be fun. Seems his punishment should be utility related. Maybe sentence him to a facility with no electricity service and make him provide the facilities electricity by hand-cranking a generator all day long?

Well, maybe that's not quite 8th amendment compliant ... but it's a tempting thought.

May 5, 2015

What's next? Suing Kraft Foods?

May 5, 2015

Visduh: According to the suit, over the last 25 years, the number of U.S. craft beer companies has gone from 250 to 3400. California is home to nearly 400 craft breweries, according to the suit. Best, Don Bauder

May 2, 2015

I've heard San Diego has the largest amount in the nation now. And more are popping up regularly, esp. in North Park.

May 4, 2015

dwbat: I believe I have heard that, too. Best, Don Bauder

May 4, 2015

The hop highway.

May 3, 2015

aardvark: Foam-enting a revolution in beer consumption. Best, Don Bauder

May 3, 2015

ImJustABill: Suits like this are usually thought up by the law firm, which goes looking for a plaintiff. I don't know if that was the case here. Best, Don Bauder

May 2, 2015

Maybe an attorney who frequents one of the establishments where an owner laments the competitive nature of the business often and regularly?

May 4, 2015

Wabbitsd: That is a possibility. Best, Don Bauder

May 5, 2015

Corporate beer in the US has been an embarrassment for many decades. People from every other country complain about the watery stuff. I don't know if 3400 small makers is a threat to the big guys, but I hope so. Let's focus more on flavor and home grown entrepreneurship and less on mass production and shareholder profits.

May 2, 2015

swell: The market shares of the big brewers have fallen quite a bit. Best, Don Bauder

May 3, 2015

let the customers choose the winner

May 3, 2015

Murphyjunk: Marketing people will say, "The dogs liked it" or "The dogs didn't like it." Best, Don Bauder

May 3, 2015

they consider their customers beasts ? sounds like a popular tv show.

May 4, 2015

Murphyjunk: I guess I am showing my age again.There is an old story among advertising people about a company that spent gazillions on a new dog food that didn't sell. The company did surveys of everybody -- retailers, consumers, advertising experts -- to find what went wrong. Then somebody thought of a reason: "The dogs didn't like it."

So 50 years ago, ad people used to say in assessing a product's success or failure, "the dogs liked it" or didn't like it. Best, Don Bauder

May 4, 2015

Robert Hall: I officially extend the Reader's profound sympathy for the traumatic experience you had at the thrift store. I agree that a cold can of beer could wash away your sorrows.

As every San Diego BP (Beautiful Person) knows, it is heartbreaking when somebody shows up at a social soiree wearing the same $10,000 outfit you are wearing. Best, Don Bauder

May 4, 2015

If we had prohibition today bathtub gin would be called craft gin.

May 4, 2015

AlexClarke: Yes, and ponder this: a person who sells marijuana is a criminal in almost all states, but an entrepreneur in Colorado. Best, Don Bauder

May 5, 2015

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