Walmart sued over Rochester-brewed beer line
Rochester, N.Y. - Walmart is being sued for its craft beer line called Trouble Brewing, and turns out it’s brewed right here in Rochester.
The lawsuit states Trouble Brewing is filed under a company WX Brands, but the brewing address is for Rochester’s Genesee Brewing.
The lawsuit, filed in Ohio, alleges the Trouble Brewing is “wholesale fiction,” “designed to deceive customers” and has a “higher inflated price.”
It also states the Brewers Association defines craft beer as small, independent and traditional, and says Trouble Brewing is mass produced and sold across 3,000 Walmart stores.
"If you're going to say it's a craft beer, it should be in small volumes and you're paying a premium for it,” said Doug Thiele, who supports the lawsuit’s claims.
“I don't see how that's dishonest or deceptive,” said David Leidlein, who doesn’t see a problem with the allegations.
Craft brewing has catapulted into popularity in recent years, and Rochester reflects that.
The Brewers Association tends to qualify craft beer as a brewery producing less than six million barrels of beer, but Daniel Nothnagle of Three Heads Brewing said, “I would tend to side with craft beer being somebody under 60,000 barrels, what the government rates, because that's true craft beer. It's more handmade, hands-on beer-making."
Nothnagle, who is the president and co-founder of Three Heads Brewing, said a good part of craft beer includes personal interaction between consumers and beer-makers. "To bring a place into the neighborhood, allow the neighbors and community residents to come and enjoy pints of beer, good music, and really experience the beer-making process."
John Urlaub is the owner of Rohrbach Brewing Company and said in the beer business, the “craft” is not as defined, but still very important to distinguish.
“As a small craft brewer, we're sensitive to people who may be not putting out craft beer, that are calling it that,” said Urlaub. “The way I look at it is, whether you're using the highest possible quality products, all malted barley, and a lot of the major brewers, they'll use adjuncts like rice or corn, and to me that's not a craft beer."
A spokesperson with WX Brands sent 13WHAM this statement:
We are aware of a legal complaint that makes certain allegations with respect to our Trouble Brewing beer, and we believe the assertions are entirely without merit.
This complaint is a copy of similar unsubstantiated claims made previously against other brewers and struck down by the courts.
The Brewers Association provides a suggested definition of a "craft brewer," which is neither legally binding nor enforceable.
Nevertheless, our company lies fully within their definition of a "craft brewer."
We are proud to work with our retail customers and our brewing partners to bring great beer to their shoppers and we stand by the quality of our products.