Bad News: Kona Beer Isn’t Actually Made In Hawaii


By Cooking Panda

Two Californians have come to the realization that they were paying for beer they thought came from Hawaii, but it was in fact brewed on the mainland. Now they’re angry and ready to sue.

Eater reports that while Kona Brewing does have a brewing facility and pub in Hawaii, that particular facility only produces about 12,000 barrels of beer each year. That means that any beer sold in most of the rest of the country is produced on the mainland, and has been for a very long time. This is stated on the beer’s label and on the website; however, the plaintiffs claim that the branding is misleading. Do they have a point?

While it’s true that the branding does feature pictures of hula dancers, surfers, the Kilauea volcano and Waikiki beach (and features the name “Island Lager” on the Longboard IPA bottle), the company could really just claim that it likes the Hawaii vibe. Nothing wrong with that. According to Reuters, Craft Brew Alliance Company won’t discuss any pending investigation, so we’ll have to wait to see how the defendant’s side of things will play out.

On the other hand, the suing customers claim that “consumers purchase items, and are willing to pay more for items, because they are from Hawaii. Craft Brew is well aware of this.” If the lawsuit is successful, it will be class action successful, and therefore many of the brewing company’s purchasers will be able to come forward and get some of their money back for having overpaid for something unnecessarily.

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Unfortunately for Kona, this lawsuit is of the same type that has been successful of late, with a string of such litigation hitting brewing companies for similar branding offenses. In 2015, a federal judge approved a $20 million settlement against Anheuser-Busch for leading consumers into thinking their Beck’s beer was German, when it was actually brewed in St. Louis. AB-InBev also faced a lawsuit over Leffe beer, and MillerCoors was sued because it’s not actually brewed in the Rocky Mountains.

I’m never one to appreciate being fooled by misleading branding, but sometimes you have to cut these guys a little slack. I mean, honestly … maybe Kona just likes Hawaii!

Sources: Eater, Reuters / Photo Credit: Kona Brewing Company/Facebook

Tags: Beer, California, Hawaii, Kona, Kona Brewing Company
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