We all remember the silly fella that sued Miller Brewing Company for misleading him into thinking Blue Moon was craft beer. The guy who filed the suit, Evan Parent, lives in the craft beer mecca of San Diego, so this came as a surprise to me. The case has been heard and, according to Judge Gonzalo Curiel, Blue Moon is craft. From The Daily Beast
The lawsuit, filed in California by lead plaintiff Evan Parent, alleged that Blue Moon was conspicuously over-priced in comparison with the rest of the MillerCoors portfolio, that it does not meet requirements agreed upon by the Brewers association, and that it misleads customers by disguising the ownership.
Judge Curiel denied that last claim, referring to the company’s website where it is clearly labeled. He also rejected a claim that Blue Moon’s grocery store shelf placement (mixed in with all the craft brews) has misleading intent.
According to the Brewer’s Association, craft beer is defined as the following:
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 alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
Blue Moon is none of those things, but the judge didn’t care and asked for a new metric to determine the legal position of a brewery as “craft.” So there is a clear discrepancy between the BA’s definition and the legal definition.
Let’s all keep our eyes on the future though and consider what craft will look like in 10, 15, or even 20 years. Will it matter if you’re “craft” or not? I wager “No” and breweries are starting to agree. The Brewers Association is serving it’s purpose of spreading the good word on craft beer, but I think it will eventually outlive it’s purpose, like many organizations of its ilk. Who cares what you do, as long as you’re brewing good beer. Blue Moon isn’t good in my opinion. I don’t care what you call it.