The Hon. Gonzalo P. Curiel, whom you might remember because Donald Trump is suspicious of people with Mexican heritage, has once again ruled on the essence of Denver’s favorite hometown beer to hate.
The short version is that the federal judge ruled definitively last week that MillerCoors did not try to trick people into thinking that Blue Moon (which supposedly has its roots at Coors Field) is a craft beer. The long version is worth reading because it involves a lot of lawyer talk about beer.
Here’s why a guy was complaining.
Evan Parent, of San Diego, was a frequent purchaser of Blue Moon beer for a whole year, according to a class-action lawsuit he filed against MillerCoors.
Relying on its advertising, its placement among other craft beers, and the premium price it commanded, Plaintiff believed that Blue Moon was a microbrew or “craft beer.”
Blue Moon, the lawsuit continued, also does not sufficiently display its connections to MillerCoors.
Yep. The plaintiff — described in court papers as a home-brewer and craft aficionado — suffered the wrong of drinking beer that wasn’t as cool as he thought it was.
Did MillerCoors ever say it was craft beer?
As the plaintiff argues:
“Blue Moon has never been a craft beer, nor has it ever been produced by a craft brewery. Rather, it is a wholesale fiction created by Defendant that was designed to deceive consumers into purchasing a MillerCoors product at a substantially higher price.”
And there are definitions of “craft beer,” both in dictionaries and in the standards of the Brewers Association.
The evidence that MillerCoors ever claimed it to be craft, though, is pretty thin.
MillerCoors website categorized Blue Moon as a “craft beer,” according to Curiel’s ruling. When I checked today, all its beers were under the single heading of “great beers.”
The lawsuit also takes issue with MillerCoors’ use of the words “Artfully Crafted,” and argues that Blue Moon’s folksy backstory is largely swill.
Here’s why the judge didn’t care.
Curiel found that the words “Artfully Crafted” amounted to nothing more than “non-actionable puffery.” MillerCoors even called its own advertisements “generalized, vague” and “puffery.”
Beyond that, Curiel in his ruling wrote that “nowhere in these advertisements is Blue Moon described as or stated to be a craft beer.”
And while bars and stores may have categorized Blue Moon as craft, Curiel found that MillerCoors was not responsible for their actions.
Finally, Curiel wrote that pricing Blue Moon high did not amount to deception. The ruling dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be re-filed, presumably leaving millions of people vulnerable to the malty charms of that beer with the orange in it.