“Through false and deceptive advertising, Craft Brew intentionally misleads consumers into believing that Kona Brewing Company beer…is a local beer made in Hawaii. In actuality, the beer is made in the continental United States.” That’s gist of a 28-page complaint filed by two California plaintiffs seeking class action status, a declaration that Craft Brew Alliance is deceiving consumers and, of course, money. Plaintiffs charge that Hawaii-soaked imagery used by CBA in selling Kona portfolio misrepresents brands (other than draft sold in HI) brewed in OR, WA, TN and NH. As result, consumers willing to pay more for brands actually made in HI “overcharged” during period of 4 yrs prior to filing of suit. That’s even as plaintiffs acknowledge that Kona labels include US brewing locations (by city, state) and Kona’s website specifically discloses that beers are brewed in other states. Still, the ads and labels add up to misrepresentation, they insist. Specifically, plaintiffs say CBA violated CA’s false advertising, consumer legal remedy, unfair competition, express warranty, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment statutes. Similar suits have been filed in Calif and other courts against other suppliers. Some have led to settlements, reaping (very) modest awards to drinkers, and substantial fees to attys. Some have been dismissed. A bunch are still pending. It’s hard to keep track.
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