Craft v. “crafty” is often a heated debate among craft brewers and enthusiasts alike, but is it worthy of legal action? One brave San Diegoan thinks so. Evan Parent is suing MillerCoors for what he believes is the deception of its labeling and marketing of Blue Moon, which he believed to be a craft beer for several years, which caused him to purchase and enjoy the beer under false pretenses. No, seriously, see for yourself.
This definitely gets filed in the “suing for getting burned by hot coffee” silliness folder, but that hot coffee lawsuit had a lot of merit to it. So, is there something important here? Is “crafty” beer deceptive in its approach (MillerCoors is not mentioned on the labels)? With craft beer really taking off as an industry, are non-craft beers in need of different labeling?
While the law firm can’t disclose certain details about the case, attorney James Treglio thinks this may be “the first lawsuit regarding ‘crafty’ beer.” Treglio did cite a similar case in which two Miami residents sued Anheuser-Busch for misrepresenting Kirin Ichiban as a brand imported from Japan, rather than one produced in multiple breweries here in the United States. In January, a Florida judge signed off on a settlement that would reimburse those affected up to $50.
Will Parent’s case play out similarly? It’s too early to tell, but Eugene Pak — who leads the craft breweries and brewpubs practice at Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP in Oakland, California, thinks it is possible people could be deceived.
“I do think there is some sort of legitimate gripe here,” Pak said. “There might be a small subset of consumers who think Blue Moon is a small craft brewery.”
The non-legal minds here at CBB would assume it’s hard to prove deceptive marketing because the actual “craft” definition itself is just a concept agreed upon by an association (and which keeps shifting the definition). But who knows? Candace Moon’s trademark law articles have showed us that there is a lot of gray area and interpretation when consumer deception is involved.
What do you think? There something to this guy’s lawsuit?