It took about 14 months, but a California judge has finally tossed aside a class action lawsuit against MillerCoors LLC that alleged the beer company was deceptively brewing and marketing its Blue Moon Brewing line of craft products.
U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel granted MillerCoors’ motion to dismiss the case after the company argued that Evan Parent, a homebrewer, beer aficionado and plaintiff listed in the suit, was unsuccessful in demonstrating that MillerCoors had misled consumers through its advertising and positioning of Blue Moon as a craft beer.
Recall that Parent had accused MillerCoors of violating California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and suggested that the company was intentionally trying to trick consumers into purchasing a “craft beer” made by a smaller brewery.
Parent had pointed to a series of video advertisements posted to the Blue Moon YouTube channel and alleged that MillerCoors attempted to “falsely represent that Blue Moon is brewed by a small, independent craft brewery, rather than the second largest brewing company in the United States,” according to the lawsuit.
In its efforts to tell the story of Blue Moon via the online ads, however, MillerCoors did not explicitly state where its beer was brewed or how large batch sizes were. It also stopped short of describing the Blue Moon products as “craft beer.”
“At best, these advertisements contain generalized, vague, and unspecified assertions that amount to mere puffery upon which a reasonable consumer could not rely,” Curiel wrote in his decision.
In his suit, Parent had also claimed that MillerCoors “requires retail establishments to stock Blue Moon among the craft beers,” and that it instructs large chain retail establishments as well as sporting and concert venues to “falsely advertise” Blue Moon as a “craft beer.”
The judge, however, found that MillerCoors was not liable for the third party representations of Blue Moon as a “craft beer.”
“We are certainly pleased with today’s ruling,” MillerCoors media relations manager Marty Maloney wrote to Brewbound on Thursday. “As we’ve said before, MillerCoors is tremendously proud of Blue Moon and has always embraced our ownership and support of this wonderful brand.”
Editor’s note: If the Judge Gonzalo Curiel name rings a bell, it’s because he’s the “hater” presiding over a class action case against Trump University. In recent weeks, Curiel has gained notoriety following a racist attack by presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who has criticized Curiel’s Mexican ancestry.