Is Blue Moon a Craft Beer? Lawsuit Says No.
Any self-respecting beer geek will tell you: Blue Moon is not craft beer. Blue Moon's parent company, MillerCoors, would like to tell you different. Now a San Diego home brewer and hero is suing MillerCoors to stop them from marketing Blue Moon as a craft beer.
As Evan Parent told San Diego's NBC7, "What this case is really about is people think they're buying craft beer and they're actually buying crafty marketing."
Consumers Legal Remedies Act
Parent's central claim is that MillerCoors lies about where and by whom Blue Moon is brewed, while marketing it and promoting the perception of it as craft beer without adhering to that definition. According to the Brewers Association and Parent's lawsuit, an American craft brewery must:
- Produce less than 6 million barrels of beer annually;
- Be less than 25 percent owned or controlled by a non-craft brewer; and
- Make beer using only traditional or innovative brewing ingredients.
MillerCoors brews Blue Moon, along with 76 million barrels worth of other beer, and fails to disclose this on Blue Moon's labeling. Therefore, Parent alleges the company violates a California consumer protection law, which prohibits unfair or deceptive sales tactics.
Deceptive and Misleading Advertising
The lawsuit also contends that MillerCoors violated California law by making "untrue or misleading statement in connection with the sale or dissemination of goods or services." Many states have aggressive marketing and advertising laws barring false or deceptive advertisements.
Parent goes after Blue Moon's tagline, "Artfully Crafted," as being especially deceptive, and notes that Blue Moon's connection to MillerCoors is not indicated on any marketing materials.
Unfair Business Practices
Finally, Parent alleges that, by obscuring the Blue Moon is owned and brewed by MillerCoors, the company misleads and deceives customers into believing they are buying a craft beer from a small, independent brewery. The beer's packaging and labels say the beer is brewed by the Blue Moon Brewing Company. Blue Moon Brewing Company is actually a small brewery enclosed in Coors Field in downtown Denver, Colorado, which provides beer to be sold at Rockies home baseball games, and nowhere else. California law also requires that be properly labeled.
While most craft beer drinkers have been well aware of Blue Moon's connection to its macrobrewing parent company for years, and most Blue Moon drinkers don't care where the wannabe craft brew comes from, it remains unclear on how the court will rule one MillerCoors' alleged statutory violations. No matter what, beer noobs will likely keep embarrassing themselves with giant orange slices teetering in their drinks, while beer snobs will snicker behind pints of over-hopped IPAs.
- San Diego Man Suing MillerCoors Over False Advertising of Blue Moon (San Diego's NBC7)
- Texas Craft Brewers Sue Over New Beer Distribution Law (FindLaw's Fifth Circuit)
- Anchor Brewing Lawsuit: SF Beer Sued by Sam Adams (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Is It Legal to Brew Your Own Beer? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)