From appearances only, Blue Moon could practically be indistinguishable from any other craft beer on the shelf. Its homey logo evokes the kind of small breweries that have revolutionized the world of beer over the last few decades in the United States. The distinguished connoisseur, however, knows that Blue Moon is made alongside the country’s biggest beer giants, MillerCoors products.
One San Diego man, Evan Parent, feels that Blue Moon has intentionally tried to hide that it’s about as un-microbrew as you can get. Parent believes MillerCoors deception was so egregious that he’s bringing a lawsuit against the company for false advertising, saying that California law was violated though Blue Moon’s attempts to shroud its origins in mystery.
In the court documents for the Blue Moon lawsuit, the defense argues that MillerCoors was attempting to distance itself from its own name when it started the project as a response to a swell of interest in craft beers and microbreweries in the early ’90s. Since then, the documents notes, the trendy establishments have grown from “approximately 250 in 1989 to more than 3,400 in 2014.”
MillerCoors, sensing that the new wave of artisanal beers wasn’t just going away, started Blue Moon in 1995 without revealing anywhere on their label that it was actually coming from one of the largest beer producers on the planet. In fact, MillerCoors produces approximately 76 million barrels of beer a year in total — more than 12 times the limit that The Brewer’s Association requires to qualify as a craft brewer. Moreover, the “Blue Moon Brewing Company” touted on the label isn’t actually where it’s made at all.
“Blue Moon Brewing Company is a small, limited capacity brewery located inside Coors Field, home to the Colorado Rockies baseball team. The Blue Moon beer that is sold in stores is not brewed at or by the Blue Moon Brewing Company. Rather, it is brewed by MillerCoors at the company’s Golden, Colorado and Eden, North Carolina breweries. In addition to brewing Blue Moon, these breweries produce all of Defendant’s other beers, including Coors, Milwaukee’s Best, Miller High Life, Hamm’s, Icehouse and Olde English.”
Because of this clever marketing, MillerCoors charges a few more dollars for Blue Moon than it can for its other products. That mark-up, says Parent, is founded in confusing customers about the beer’s origin. Even the beers tagline “artfully crafted,” he says, is a means to falsely characterize Blue Moon as a craft beer and allow MillerCoors to reap the benefits.
If the Blue Moon lawsuit proves to be successful, other major brewers might also be in trouble. Shock Top, a product of the Anheuser-Busch, AKA Budweiser, brand, is its biggest competition.
[Image via Mireya Acierto/Getty Images]