San Diego Beer Drinker's Legal Battle Against Blue Moon Rages On
Evan Parent, a home brewer and self-described "craft beer lover," sued the Colorado company in April for what he says is false advertising that describes one of its products, the belgian wheat beer Blue Moon, as craft beer. He said he bought the beer in 2011 and 2012 thinking it was a craft beer, before realizing it’s made by MillerCoors, the second largest beer company in the world.
The beer's labels and website do not mention MillerCoors, but instead use the name Blue Moon Brewing Company and advertise the beer as “artfully crafted.”
On Monday, a federal judge said Parent's class action lawsuit needed more information, and gave him and his lawyer, Jim Treglio, 30 days to file more detailed evidence.
"The Court does not find it impossible that the Plaintiff could allege other facts as to MillerCoors’ advertising or sales practices that would support their claim that MillerCoors deceptively or misleadingly represents Blue Moon as a craft beer," U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel wrote. "However, the Court cautions that the Plaintiff cannot rely on MillerCoors’ use of the (Blue Moon Brewing Company) trade name in Blue Moon’s label or packaging for their consumer protection claims. Nor, standing alone, is MillerCoors’ use of the 'Artfully Crafted' trademark sufficient."
"The court thought our complaint wasn’t specific enough, so we’re adding in a lot more specificity," Treglio said. For example, he said the judge asked for evidence proving MillerCoors requests that Blue Moon beer be placed in the craft beer section in grocery stores.
"Hopefully the court will agree with us that based on all the evidence we can provide, that a reasonable consumer could be deceived by this conduct," he said.
Parent is looking to recoup the extra money he and other beer drinkers spent on Blue Moon, because it is more expensive than other Coors beers. He also wants to make sure the beer is labeled properly in the future.
"I'm really just looking for truth in advertising," he said. "I think it's important that consumers be told the truth about what they're purchasing, especially for an industry that's so important to San Diego and to myself."
Jonathan Stern, a spokesman for MillerCoors, said the company is "pleased with the way the court ruled so far," but said he wouldn't comment further until the case was closed.
In an emailed response when the lawsuit was filed, MillerCoors said it is tremendously proud of Blue Moon and "has always embraced our ownership and support of this wonderful brand. The class action filed against MillerCoors in California is without merit and contradicted by Blue Moon Brewing Company’s 20-year history of brewing creative beers of the highest quality."