Two, California, beer lovers, Sara Cilloni and Simone Zimmer, are suing the maker of Kona craft beer for misleading them into thinking the beer was made in Hawaii, which ultimately caused them to overpay for it.
The two west coasters have stated that Craft Brew Alliance Inc. actually brews Kona Brewing Co. beers in New Hampshire, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington state.
The deception, according to the plaintiffs, stems from the showcasing of hula dancers, surfers, the Kilauea volcano, Waikiki beach and other Hawaii-centric images & phrases. More misleading factors are the very Hawaiian beer names like Big Wave Golden Ale, Castaway IPA, Fire Rock Pale Ale and Longboard Island Lager.
“Consumers purchase items and are willing to pay more for items, because they are from Hawaii,” the complaint said. “Craft Brew is well aware of this.”
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in California’s San Jose federal court, and it seeks class action on status and unspecified damages for Kona purchasers in that state and nationwide over four years.
A spokesperson for the Portland (OR)-based company was bit expedient in responding to comment requests.
And this may seem like a rather simple lawsuit on the surface, but things like this can actually break companies. There was quite a similar lawsuit filed against Anheuser-Busch InBev NV in 2015 for claims that deceived consumers into believing its St. Louis-brewed Beck’s was a German pilsner. The company answered to a $20,000,000 judge-approved settlement.
Let’s hope that the lawsuit against Craft Brew Alliance Inc. ends with a fair settlement.