Beer dynamics have changed. What once was a macrobrewery-dominated industry has turned towards the popular rise of smaller, microbreweries. In attempts to remain competitive in the market and appeal to the ever growing love of craft beer, big beer companies have branched off into producing beers that are deceptively marketed as craft. It's this very question of deceit that has Walmart facing a class-action lawsuit.
Those shopping down the beer aisle at Walmart may have been surprised to find a new line of exclusive craft beer brewed by Trouble Brewing. While that sounds all good up front, Trouble Brewing isn't exactly a small craft brewery - in fact, it doesn't exist.
The brewery developing Walmart's exclusive new four - Cat's Away IPA, After Party Pale Ale, Round Midnight White Belgian, and Red Flag Amber - is owned by a company that does business making beer, wine, and spirits specifically for retailers. Now that doesn't ring craft beer - and it's what has found Walmart in high water.
While many retailers have sought their own craft beer lines, they deliberately fail to mention the specific origins of the product. According to the Consumerist, a "beer drinker's lawsuit filed in the Hamilton Count, OH court of Common Pleas that calling the beverages craft beer is wholesale fiction."
The cans that Walmart is selling to customers are not actually craft. They're produced on a large scale by WX Brands - which listed Genessee Brewing's office as its address on the Treasury Departments Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau application.
Nothing about Genessee, or Walmart, is small business.
One of the most popular stores in the country, Walmart customers are paying an average of $14 a six pack for the supposed "Trouble Brewing" beer. That's not exactly cheap.
While the very notion of frequenting Walmart for the purpose of craft beer sounds rather peculiar, buying a six pack out of pure curiosity isn't unusual.
Aware or not of misleading product labels, spending hard earned dollars for a false, and unlawful product is cause for liable action.
The lawsuit claims that the fraudulent beer does not qualify as being brewed by a craft brewery as stated by the definition set forth by the Brewer's Association. Furthermore, the placement of the product next to the other craft beers as opposed to the non, further confuses the customer.
The plaintiff seeks to represent the Ohio Walmart beer purchasing residents to prevent the false advertisement and misleading nature at stake when beer is deceptively labeled as craft. Sounds like Walmart has some explaining to do.