America has fallen in love with craft beer and big retail took notice and wants to take a chunk of the ever expanding demand. Unfortunately, some consumers have been misled by America’s largest retailer: Walmart. Walmart has been selling beers that are not truly “craft” beers, but instead private-label beers produced at a large industrial brewery in Rochester, New York.
According to the Washington Post, a class-action complaint filed in the Hamilton County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Matthew Adam “and all others similarly situated,” alleges that Walmart used a “fraudulent, unlawful, deceptive and unfair course of conduct” to market and sell its four Trouble Brewing beers as craft beers, and because of this, “members of the public were fraudulently induced to purchase Defendant’s Craft Beer at inflated prices.”
The cans say the contents were brewed by Trouble Brewing in Rochester, New York, but no American brewery with the name Trouble Brewing actually exists, according to the complaint. They’re actually produced at Genesee Brewing, on a contract basis. The lawsuit states, “Defendant’s [Walmart] Craft Beer has never been a ‘craft beer’ nor has it been produced by a craft brewery, rather, it is a wholesale fiction created by the Defendant that was designed to deceive consumers into purchasing the Craft Beer at a higher, inflated price.” Teresa Budd, a senior buyer for Walmart , told the Washington Post, “We were intentional about designing a package that conveyed a look and feel you’d expect of craft beer.”
So what makes a beer a craft beer? The Brewer’s Association, an American trade group of over 1,900 brewers defines craft beer as:
Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients nd their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.
Teresa Budd, a senior buyer for Walmart , told the Washington Post, “We were intentional about designing a package that conveyed a look and feel you’d expect of craft beer.”
By: Oren Cytrynbaum