May 7th, 2015
MillerCoors may not like how many times its name is about to appear alongside one of its beer brands.
A recent class-action lawsuit against the booze behemoth alleges that the nation’s second largest brewer “goes to great lengths” to distance the MillerCoors name from Blue Moon, its Belgium-style wheat beer.
Why? So that the company can charge up to 50 percent more for that brand than its other beers under the pretense that Blue Moon is a craft beer, according to the lawsuit.
“MillerCoors does not appear anywhere on the Blue Moon bottle,” states the lawsuit. “Moreover, while Blue Moon is prominently displayed on the MillerCoors website, there is not a single reference to MillerCoors on the Blue Moon Brewing Company website.”
The lawsuit also alleges that MillerCoors falsely advertises Blue Moon as craft beer through its placement among craft beers in stores and its registered trademark “Artfully Crafted.”
Defining craft beer
MillerCoors would have to decrease its annual beer production by 70 million barrels — from 76 million to 6 million — to be considered a craft brewer under the Brewers Association’s definition of an America craft brewer, the lawsuit argues.
But MillerCoors, whose top-selling brands are Miller Lite and Coors Light, says it’s not legally bound by the trade group’s definition.
“There are countless definition of ‘craft,’ none of which are legal definitions,” company spokesperson Cat Corrigan told TINA.org in an email. “We choose to judge beer by the quality, skill and passion that goes into brewing it.”
Last year, sales of craft beer in the U.S. experienced an annual growth of 17.6 percent, while overall beer sales only rose 0.5 percent, according to figures from the Brewers Association.
Find more or our coverage on premium alcohol claims here.