Consumer vs Blue Moon class action lawsuit

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by gcrest, Apr 30, 2015.

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  1. Vorsprung

    Vorsprung Initiate (0) Apr 7, 2015 Virginia

    @Johndubie - very good and practical point, but a legal strawman. The court won't define "consumer" in such a narrow way.
  2. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (802) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    So craft has an actual legal definition? Come on now.

  3. stealth

    stealth Zealot (548) Dec 16, 2011 Minnesota

    for fuck's sake. I lose hope in humanity more and more each day that passes.
  4. OneBeertoRTA

    OneBeertoRTA Devotee (459) Jan 2, 2010 California

    The margin on blue moon is substantially higher than Coors/Coors light. I just googled Bevmo pricing and Blue Moon is $17.49 vs. $10.49. Yes, the COGS most likely are higher but it would probably equate to $.50 at most/case and the taxes are virtually flat. Strip out the retailer (~30%) and distributor (~20%) pieces of the $7 (higher shelf price) and you have anywhere between a 5-12pt margin difference. As far as BC and OI is concerned I don't know if marketing costs are higher on Blue Moon and whether the Blue Moon business unit commands higher operating expenses (salary, etc..) Doubtful.
  5. Dravin

    Dravin Initiate (191) Apr 27, 2014 Indiana

    If you paid a premium for a beer because it, rightly or wrongly, claimed to be craft and not because the taste made it worth the price... *shakes head*
    LuskusDelph and R3ason like this.
  6. MisSigsFan

    MisSigsFan Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2013 California

    Idiots who don't know anything about craft buy Blue Moon because it's advertised in a similar fashion to craft beer. That's what I got from this. Consumers should educate themselves.
    BWM-77, BallantineBurton and R3ason like this.
  7. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,003) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Blue Moon was originally brewed by F. X. Matt for Coors then-specialty division, Unibev (which may have used a Denver address) - so the early labels probably said "Utica, NY" and, possibly, "Denver, CO" as well. As noted below, there was no secret who owned the brand at the time of release (though, granted, not a lot of beer drinkers check the Business Section of the Times before purchase).
    Blue Moon would be later brewed by Boston Beer Co. in their Cincinnati brewery (probably a continuation of a contract with the former owner, Hudepohl-Schoenling) and at Coors' Memphis brewery (built by Schlitz, sold to Coors by Stroh and now the home of City Brewing Co., which brews a number of contract craft beers, notably Sixpoint's cans). So, it has shared brewing facilities and been done in the same "batch size" as numerous well-known and accepted as "craft" beers.

    After the MolsonCoors merger and the sale of the Memphis brewery, Blue Moon was even being brewed for the US market in Canada at Molson facilities and, somewhat amazingly given typical industry marketing, Coors didn't push the "Imported" aspect on labels, etc., IIRC. After the creation of the MillerCoor US joint venture, Blue Moon was moved back to the merged company's US breweries which can probably be determined by checking the bottle codes used by MC. Some BM production comes from former Miller plants IIRC - probably Eden, NC (again, a brewery that once contract-brewed "craft" brands like Samuel Adams and Pete's Wicked).

    For many years, of course, there was no physical "Blue Moon Brewery" - but that changed when Coors changed the name of their Denver baseball stadium Sandlot brewery byadding "Blue Moon" to the official title - obviously, only a tiny percentage of the brand's total barrelage comes out of that facility. And they recently announced building a much larger separate brewery in Denver for the Blue Moon subsidiary, but, again, given the brand is over 2m bbl/yr, most Blue Moon will still come out of MC multimillion barrel production breweries.

    For those who note that "drinkers should educate themselves" - it seems some did, easily discovered the ownership of the Blue Moon brand (as simple as checking the MillerCoors website) - and then called a lawyer :rolling_eyes:
    #87 jesskidden, May 1, 2015
    Last edited: May 1, 2015
  8. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    As my grandma used to say, "A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing." :wink:
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  9. sefus12

    sefus12 Aspirant (213) Sep 7, 2006 Virginia

    One of the best points made in this thread.
    LuskusDelph and Kadonny like this.
  10. Kadonny

    Kadonny Meyvn (1,374) Sep 5, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Agreed, everyone is looking for a payday.....disgusting.
  11. msscott1973

    msscott1973 Devotee (428) Dec 28, 2013 North Carolina

    It is $8 for 6 and $13 for 12 in my neck of the woods. I don't know if I consider that a "premium" price, but I still pass right buy it.
  12. gopens44

    gopens44 Poo-Bah (2,329) Aug 9, 2010 Virginia
    Society Trader

    Good question / query. I'm certain that your query would certainly make a great thread on it's own. I'd be willing to bet that you'd have several different opinions on what defines "craft", from vague and all inclusive definitions all the way to extremely finite definitions that would exclude most major "craft" brewers, and plenty of hair splitting along the way.

    Even though I'm not certain I could come up with a great definition of craft at this very moment, I'll "advocate for the Devil" momentarily with what I pulled from the Brewers Association website under "The following are some concepts related to craft brewing and brewers"

    -•Craft beer is generally made with traditional ingredients like malted barley; interesting and sometimes non-traditional ingredients are often added for distinctiveness.

    Based solely on this bullet of definition from the BA, Blue Moon indeed has an argument to suggest it is a craft brewer. Note that the BA does not claim to issue a legal judgment so to speak of what a craft brewer is, but rather a "strong suggestion" that craft brewers follow all of the distinctive traits described in the bulleted section I pulled this from (someone please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on the Brewers Association being a legal clearinghouse for craft - I could indeed be off on that).

    So if you were to ask Blue Moon what their definition of craft beer is, they'd probably look no further than the Brewers Association website to make their argument.
  13. paulys55

    paulys55 Zealot (502) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania

    "...and cause substantial injury to consumers".
    This made my day. This whole thing makes me want to drink a beer at 9:30 am and i'm stuck at work.
  14. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Savant (952) Mar 17, 2009 Washington

    Food labelling is out of control IMO. Companies create deceiving wording (ie. low fat - still loaded with sugar). Craft brewers break their backs doing 12+ hour shifts, take on 5 jobs at once and make little money in the process. Some even have to keep another job while starting a brewery. Large corporations put craft or artisanal on the label of a lame beer which takes credit for all the innovation craft brewers have done. Fuck em
  15. J-Rye

    J-Rye Initiate (178) Aug 12, 2014 New Jersey

    In a later post, I quoted an article referenced earlier in the thread (

    "Coor's . . . makes more than 2.4 billion gallons of beer a year — about 12 times what the prevailing Brewers Association definition, for a craft brewer, allows" I just started a new thread asking the question.
  16. Uniobrew31

    Uniobrew31 Zealot (525) Jan 16, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Thanks, I never buy the stuff which is why I didn't "get it".
  17. Uniobrew31

    Uniobrew31 Zealot (525) Jan 16, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Still a pretty dumb use of a courts time. There is a lot more injustice in the world than someone being duped into thinking blue moon is a craft beer. Live and Learn, what are the damages? 8.99 for a six pack lol.
    BallantineBurton likes this.
  18. beastmammoth

    beastmammoth Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2010 New York

    to be fair, you say finding out about blue moon is as easy as checking the miller coors website, but if you google blue moon it takes you to this:

    You'd have to already know that it was brewed by miller coors to check their website

  19. sefus12

    sefus12 Aspirant (213) Sep 7, 2006 Virginia

    What happened to the time when you bought a product and simply judged if the price was worth the quality?

    All this "I'm suing because I purchased something I didn't like and it's not my fault because nothing can ever be my fault" bull shit really needs to stop. It's pathetic and petty lawsuits like this make the beer community, which I tend to enjoy being a part of, a less fun and worse looking place to be.
    BallantineBurton and mwa423 like this.
  20. SensorySupernova

    SensorySupernova Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2014 California

    I have drank a few Blue Moons. How do I opt out of the class claiming damages?
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  21. R3ason

    R3ason Aspirant (249) Aug 13, 2014 Colorado

    Buy another. That should pretty much cover any and all monies you'd see from a settlement :wink:
    5thOhio and raffels like this.
  22. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (550) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Give the accepted notion that the American consumer is a blithering idiot. This might become interesting and possibly even popcorn worthy.
  23. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (4,006) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    And if you ask "who owns blue moon beer" the first hit you get tells you all the details of the chain of ownership. So its even easier than checking the MC website. But then one has to care about product ownership to even make that much effort.
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  24. otispdriftwood

    otispdriftwood Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 Colorado

    Compared to the class, absolutely. Plaintiffs get dollars, lawyers get thousands.
    5thOhio likes this.
  25. Blanco

    Blanco Defender (608) Oct 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    drtth likes this.
  26. chcfan

    chcfan Zealot (558) Oct 29, 2008 California

    CB_Michigan and drtth like this.
  27. BallantineBurton

    BallantineBurton Initiate (95) Jan 22, 2012 Massachusetts

    I have read the complaint. There's not a shard of evidence in the complaint. There are some correct observations such as MillerCoors has distanced itself from Blue Moon, at least from an advertising or promotional standpoint. But to reiterate, I cannot find anything in the complaint that can remotely hold up in court. There are many misstatements as well such as complaining that the beer is not labeled in accordance with the Food and Drug Act.
    Granted that Blue Moon does not meet the BA definition of "craft Beer," but that not a legal or enforceable definition.
    Disclaimer: I have consulted with both small and large brewers (including Coors). But this does not influence in any way my opinion of the complaint.
    LuskusDelph likes this.
  28. lordofthemark

    lordofthemark Aspirant (225) Jan 28, 2015 Virginia

    Can we say that Blue Moon is NOT "proudly macro"?
    Redrover likes this.
  29. hophugger

    hophugger Poo-Bah (2,309) Mar 5, 2014 Virginia

    don't agree with it?, don't buy it !!
  30. raffels

    raffels Initiate (0) Dec 12, 2009 West Virginia

    Easier yet, scroll down to the bottom of the BM home page. Right down there in teeny little letters it reads Golden, Co :slight_smile:
    drtth likes this.
  31. KBrady

    KBrady Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 New Jersey

    For me, Blue Moon was one of the original gateways into real craft beer. It had an experimental flavor back when it was released and represented a style (wit) that was anything but mainstream. I wholeheartedly disagree that just because a parent company is known for one type of product doesn't mean it can't produce another as well.
    As for the premium bit, give me a break. If consumers didn't like it, they wouldn't make 2.4b gallons or whatever the volume is each year. Supply and demand people.
  32. SoulFroosh

    SoulFroosh Initiate (0) Apr 19, 2014 Maine

    Does this mean Miller High Life isn't champagne?
  33. Dreizhen

    Dreizhen Aspirant (286) Jun 6, 2013 District of Columbia

    This is called mere puffery. The world's best legal dictionary told me so.
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  34. Vorsprung

    Vorsprung Initiate (0) Apr 7, 2015 Virginia

    Um, you realize a complaint is not an evidentiary document?
  35. fureousangel

    fureousangel Initiate (0) May 19, 2012 California

    This is the dumbest thing ever. What a complete waste of time, energy, and resources.

    It seems to me that people who know what's up don't really care. If you don't like the beer, then don't drink it. We should recognize Blue Moon as a pathway for people to drink better beer.

    Again, just my opinion but who gives a shit.
  36. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (283) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Flipping through various sports on TV this past weekend, I saw commercials talking about "champagne of beers".. A "SUPERIOR" beer, and even what BUD has attempted this with "brewed the hard way". It's all slick marketing.

    Now where this Blue Moon case lies in relation? Almost every consumer if they are deemed this stupid and naive, can feel duped into buying almost EVERYTHING that they buy.
  37. BigAl18

    BigAl18 Initiate (0) Sep 28, 2014 Minnesota

    Waste of time and money. Society has become too litigious.
    5thOhio likes this.
  38. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,428) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    This lawsuit pisses me off far more than any attempt at deception that MillerCoors has perpetuated with their branding of Blue Moon. For anyone who didn't click through, the complaint alleges that MillerCoors:

    I think the part that annoys me the most about the lawsuit is the whole implication that "artfully crafted" and "macrobrew" are mutually exclusive terms.

    Without even getting into the fact that "macrobrew" is a generic term with no numerically-defined differentiation from "microbrew", how does one go about proving or disproving artisanship? What defines "artful"? On the "craft" part, one could easily make the argument that MillerCoors literally crafted Blue Moon to appeal to consumers who wanted more out of beer than the mostly flavorless yellow fizzy beer that dominated the market at one point in time. If you agree that brewing is partly an art, then who is to say which brewers are artful and which are not in their creation of beer? Do you have to like it for it to qualify as art? Because that's the uncomfortable implication of this suit.

    Plus, I can't help but smirk at the notion that these consumers who supposedly care so much who makes their beer and how it is made--to the point of suing for damages--apparently can't be bothered to put in the minimum effort needed to find the answers to those questions out for themselves:

    Others have noted the whole contract brewer question. I would point out an example in my own backyard: Boulevard. Should we require that they put "owned by Duvel Moortgat" on all their labels? Personally, I think not, because in some cases, being required to include such information plays on the ignorance and bias of consumers. They see that and believe (falsely) that their beer is somehow different or, worse, lesser than it was before Duvel purchased the brewery, when in reality, it's the same beer it always was. If anything, the Duvel sale has allowed Boulevard to expand their reach and get more creative with the beers they create. Selling to Duvel was arguably to the consumer's benefit. And yet, you should have seen some of the emotional, ignorant responses from locals when the sale was first announced. All they cared about was the perception that Boulevard was no longer a local company (it still is) and that they had supposedly sold out (they didn't).

    So while the idea of informing the consumer is absolutely a noble one, there is another side to giving consumers information. There is a point at which information has the opposite of the intended effect. Like so many things, there is an appropriate middle ground. In this case, that middle ground is somewhere between intentionally lying to consumers about what they are purchasing and requiring companies to put every single minute detail about a product on labeling. Personally, I feel that while Blue Moon intentionally omits who owns the company, their central claim about the beer (being "artfully crafted") is plenty true. In this case, requiring the extra labeling would only serve to inflame the existing bias against BMC--the very bias that was likely the real source of this lawsuit.

    If consumers care whether or not BMC is making their beer, it is an easy enough thing to find out. And requiring Blue Moon to label themselves as a subsidiary of MillerCoors would potentially damage their ability to sell to consumers who don't care enough about brewery ownership to type in a simple Google search.

    While true, there is nothing false on the Blue Moon label. Failure to offer up the ownership on their label is not a false claim about the product inside.
    RobH, gopens44, drtth and 2 others like this.
  39. HopVol

    HopVol Initiate (0) Mar 31, 2015 Tennessee

    I can see both sides of this but I still think suing is ridiculous. If I start a website selling air guitar strings and you buy them. Whose fault is it when I send you an empty box? But, at the same time it does get on my nerves when big beer attacks craft beer while buying up craft breweries. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.
    BWM-77 likes this.
  40. Au111

    Au111 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2013 California

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