A beer product from an Hawaiian named brewery featuring Hawaiian themed labels could only be a product of Hawaii, or at least one would assume. It’s precisely this assumption of alleged misrepresentation that has Kona Brewing Company facing a lawsuit.
According to Reuters, the makers of Kona beer were sued last Tuesday by two consumers that believed their products are brewed in Hawaii – when they aren’t. Kona Brewing Co., owned by Craft Brew Alliance Inc., is brewed on the mainland in four different states – Oregon, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Washington.
Plaintiffs Sara Colloni and Simone Zimmer claim that the beer labels deceive the public by using iconic Hawaiian symbols – such as hula dancers and surfers – as well as beer names associated with Hawaii. Furthermore, the plaintiffs complained that the beer labels say nothing about the beers true origin.
Despite the packaging complaint, the labels include all four states as wells as Kona, HI. The Kona Brewery Co. website is even happy to state that the beer is indeed brewed on the mainland.
While the original Kalui-Kona brewery is still the main headquarters, the company “recognizes the importance of crafting its tasty ales and lagers closer to their market.” To give the public the freshest possible product to ensure quality, the beer is brewed closer to the consumer.
“This also enables Kona Brewing company to minimize its carbon footprint, expending limited resources to deliver quality beer.” Although that might be too much to print on a beer bottle label, Kona Brewing Co. fully admits the beer is sourced outside of Hawaii.
Big beer companies fooling customers on account of using deceptive labels is no new thing. Walmart faced a similar lawsuit earlier this year with its exclusive Trouble Brewing brand – a brewery that doesn’t exist. And in 2015, Anheuser-Busch forked out a large chunk of change – $20 million to be exact – from fooling customers into believing Beck’s was a real German pilsner.
While deception may land big beer in hot water, Kona Brewing Co. has no problem stating that its Hawaiian beer is brewed on the mainland.