A local beer drinker's case against domestic brewing giant MillerCoors for mislabeling its Blue Moon offerings as "craft beer" has, as MillerCoors lawyers predicted shortly after its May filing, apparently fizzled out.
Evan Parent, who describes himself as a "beer aficionado," says he began drinking Blue Moon beer in 2011 but stopped a year later, after learning the product was produced in a large-scale facility. Parent then filed a lawsuit this year in San Diego state court (MillerCoors successfully fought to move the venue to a federal courthouse), claiming that the company "goes to great lengths to disassociate Blue Moon beer from the MillerCoors name," noting that packaging refers to an allegedly fictional Blue Moon Brewing Company and displays slogans including "craft beer" and "artfully crafted."
MillerCoors, for its part, argued that there is no standing legal definition of craft beer, and therefore they could not have intentionally deceived any of the members Parent sought to make a part of his class action.
According to the Brewers Association trade group, craft beer is defined as being produced by a brewery with a total annual output of 6 million barrels per year or less, with less than 25 percent of its ownership residing with a large-scale brewery, and specializing in "traditional or innovative brewing ingredients," excluding malt-liquor producers. The association's definition, however, is not a legally binding one.
According to a Courthouse News Service report, U.S. District judge Gonzalo Curiel did leave Parent an option to revive the case in his dismissal.
"The court does not find it impossible that the plaintiff could allege other facts as to MillerCoors' advertising or sales practices that would support their claim that MillerCoors deceptively or misleadingly represents Blue Moon as a craft beer," says Curiel. The plaintiff, however, will have to introduce new evidence that goes beyond the "artfully crafted" bottle language and the use of the Blue Moon name.