Aloha! What does Hawaii have in common with Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire and Tennessee? Absolutely nothing, according to consumers in a class-action lawsuit against Craft Brew Alliance, which owns Kona Brewing Company.
Berkeley Law highlights this case in which the plaintiffs alleged they were deceived by the Hawaiian-themed brand and paid a premium for it.
While the Kona Brewing Company owns a brewery and two brewpubs in Hawaii, the “Liquid Aloha” sold in the continental United States is also brewed in the continental United States. No, mahalo, said some consumers. The Hawaiian-themed marketing strategy, which includes beer titles like Hanalei Island IPA and Wailua Wheat, is mere “puffery,” said the company, and wouldn’t confuse the average consumer.
The case is taking place in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which Berkeley Law says has the reputation for being the nation’s “food court” because it hears 20 percent of the country’s food-related class action litigation. It’s also known for being more plaintiff-friendly. It has denied Craft Brew Alliance’s motion to dismiss.
Says Berkeley Law about this case:
“Those who support the class-action lawsuit against Kona are interested to see whether courts start to place an emphasis on the craft of beer. Wine law ensures consumers know exactly where wine is made, and where ingredients used to make that wine are from. Surely, craft beer advocates would prefer similar laws in order to give the industry more credibility.”
Of note is that plaintiffs in this case are only seeking damages, not an injunction. So most likely, “beer law” won’t gain from this particular lawsuit.