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Marketing Blue Moon as a Craft Beer Is Perfectly Legal, Says Court

There's no legal definition for a craft beer.


Calling the mass-marketed wheat ale Blue Moon a "craft beer" is certainly a stretch — but according to a federal court, it's perfectly legal. On Monday a judge threw out a lawsuit brought against Blue Moon maker MillerCoors for deceptive marketing practices, reports Consumerist.

The suit was filed back in the spring by a California man who took issue with what he claims are the brewing giant's efforts to position Blue Moon as a craft beer: The beer's label contains the phrase "Artfully Crafted," and MillerCoors is not mentioned anywhere on the packaging, nor on Blue Moon's website; rather, the brewer is listed as the fictitious Blue Moon Brewing Co. (Clearly MillerCoors realizes there's nothing crafty about a company that brews a whopping 76 million barrels annually, as it does.)

As Consumerist points out, the lawsuit says that "Blue Moon beer made for retail consumption is brewed at the same plant where MillerCoors makes decidedly non-craft brands Coors, Milwaukee’s Best, Miller High Life, Hamm’s, Icehouse and Olde English" — yet the company charges up to 50 percent more for Blue Moon than it does for its other products.

The lawsuit was dismissed after MillerCoors presented the argument that there is in fact no legal definition for the term "craft beer." The corporation also argued that it is not legally required to include the name MillerCoors on Blue Moon's packaging or website; rather, "its trademark registrations for the Blue Moon brand and the fictitious Blue Moon Brewing Co. were sufficient to let consumers know that MillerCoors is the actual maker of this beer." Furthermore, the judge reasoned in his dismissal that MillerCoors "made no effort to hide the company’s ownership of the brand," as Blue Moon is clearly listed on the MillerCoors website as one of its brands.

MillerCoors isn't the first brewer to be hit with a lawsuit for deceptive marketing practices: Earlier this year a judge decided that consumers who thought Kirin Ichiban was imported from Japan were entitled to a (tiny) refund. Kirin has been brewed in the U.S. since it was purchased by Anheuser-Busch back in 1996.