In echo of unsuccessful suit vs MC over Blue Moon, Ohio consumer seeks class action status in suit vs Wal-Mart for “false and deceptive labeling,” positioning and pricing of 4 brands he sez it sells as “craft.” Cites dictionary definitions of craft, plus BA defn of “small, independent and traditional,” and sez Wal-Mart’s Cat’s Away IPA, After Party Ale, Round Midnight Belgian White and Red Flag Amber don’t fit the bill. Paid $14 for a 12-pk in OH store (which is close to $28.51/case avg Shock Top price in grocery stores per IRI, but less than avg craft price of near $36/case). Wal-Mart labels name Trouble Brewing, which “doesn’t really exist,” Plaintiff points out. Rather it’s name created by private label co Winery Exchange/WX Brands; beer brewed in NAB’s Rochester, NY plant. Plaintiff believes “Genesee produces well over the prescribed amount that would be considered ‘small,’” citing BA’s 6-mil-bbl cap.
Suit sez Wal-Mart positions these brands next to craft on store shelves, prices them as craft and, according to Wal-Mart exec, “we were intentional about designing a package that conveyed a look and feel you’d expect of craft beer.” But Plaintiff insists Wal-Mart’s “Craft beer has never been a ‘craft beer,’ nor has it been produced by a craft brewery.” Wal-Mart’s actions violate OH’s consumer protection laws and constitute unjust enrichment, fraud, etc, he claims. Seeks class action status, compensatory and punitive damages, atty fees and injunction to stop Wal-Mart’s “misleading misconduct.” Recall, similar action vs Blue Moon dismissed by US federal court last yr. That ct specifically said pricing of brand “cannot be a misrepresentation” (that brand is “craft” or not). Same ct tho refused to decide on defn of “craft,” for such claims.