Beer companies are good at marketing their products in ways that touch people’s hearts. Take the Budweiser puppy that plays with Clydesdales, for instance, or the heartwarming immigrant story of Adolphus Busch. But sometimes, that marketing can get breweries in trouble — like when breweries try to convince someone that a beer is brewed in a special location when it’s not.
Consumers don’t like to be misled about the origin of their beer. And when consumers realize they’re being misled, lawsuits happen. Here are seven reasons breweries were sued by people who thought they were drinking a beer from a unique location, when they were actually drinking macro brew:
AB InBev’s Leffe isn’t made by Belgian monks in Belgium
A Miami man took his discontent to the courts in 2016 after thinking that Anheuser-Busch’s Leffe beer was actually made in a Belgian abbey by Belgian monks. The packaging says that it was “First brewed and perfected by Belgian Monks over 700 years ago,” and that there are “seven centuries of Belgian craftsmanship in every chalice.” Today, however, the beer is made in the fully automated Stella Artois Brewery. But Anheuser-Busch stands by their marketing despite the lawsuit, telling Eater that the beer is “brewed today with care and tradition under an agreement with the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Leffe.” The lawsuit hasn’t yet been resolved.
Don't Miss A DropGet the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
AB InBev’s Beck’s isn’t brewed in Germany
Beck’s beer isn’t a German import. In fact, it’s been made in St. Louis, Missouri since 2012. That hasn’t stopped the beer from being packaged as “German Quality” beer that “Originated in Bremen, Germany,” though. AB InBev lost a class action lawsuit for the misleading labeling in 2015. The company was forced to refund up to $50 to Beck’s drinkers with valid receipts, and pay $3.5 million in attorneys’ fees and costs.
AB InBev’s Kirin Ichiban isn’t brewed in Japan
After AB InBev bought Kirin Ichiban in 1996, brewing operations were moved to the United States and the Japanese ingredients were ditched. The beer label stated as much with a disclaimer that it is “brewed under Kirin’s strict supervision by Anheuser-Busch, Los Angeles, CA and Williamsburg, VA.” Two Miami residents thought otherwise, however, and sued the company for deceptive advertising. A judge ruled in their favor and ordered AB InBev to pay Kirin consumers up to $50 in reimbursements.
Kona Brewing’s Hawaiian style beer isn’t brewed in Hawaii
In early 2017, two California residents sued Kona Brewing Company for tricking them into thinking the beer is brewed in Hawaii. Kona’s beers have Hawaiian themes and names, but are actually made on the mainland — and have been since 2012.
Walmart’s “craft beer” isn’t brewed in a craft brewery
Walmart makes beer, and it’s trying to make consumers believe it’s craft beer. The beer, called, Trouble Brewing, is nothing but trouble for people who think that it’s a small-batch product. The beer is actually made by WX Brands in the macro Genesee Brewing facilities. Genesee Brewing is owned by a Costa Rican company called Florida Ice and Farm Company. There is no Trouble Brewing craft brewery, just a whole lot of deceived consumers and trouble for Walmart.
MillerCoors’s Blue Moon isn’t brewed in a craft brewery
Ignore the gorgeous commercials and orange slice on the glass. Blue Moon is not (and never has been) a craft beer. It’s actually made by MillerCoors. A California man sued MillerCoors twice, saying that Blue Moon doesn’t meet the Brewers Association standard of a craft beer. MillerCoors said that no one could have confused Blue Moon despite the terms “Artfully Crafted” and “craft beer” because craft beer doesn’t have a widely accepted standard definition. The courts ruled with MillerCoors both times.
Coors Light isn’t brewed in the Rocky Mountains
No, you can’t actually “taste the Rockies” when drinking Coors Light. Many Coors Light drinkers can’t even taste beer made with mountain water. A class-action lawsuit in Florida claims the company misleads consumers into thinking Coors Light is made with “pure Rocky Mountain spring water.” It’s actually been brewed in places like Ohio and non-mountainous regions of California since 2008 when the company merged with Miller. If you really want to taste the Rockies, though, Coors Banquet is still made in Golden, Colorado.