All hops are not created equally
Walmart is the pinnacle of big business, a multinational corporation with 11,528 stores worldwide and a market value of about $250 billion. It’s not the kind of store you walk into when you’re looking for a large, high-quality craft beer selection.
It’s certainly not the kind of store you’d expect to manufacture its own “craft” beer line. So when craft crusader Matthew Adam of Cincinnati, Ohio discovered that the retailer’s Trouble Brewing line of “craft” beer wasn’t stocked with the real stuff, he took action.
Walmart’s party foul
There is now a class-action lawsuit being brought against Walmart for fraudulently presenting ‘Cat’s Away IPA,’ ‘After Party Pale Ale,’ ‘Round Midnight Belgian White,’ and ‘Red Flag Amber’ as craft beers, “when, in actuality, nothing about [Walmart] is ‘small, traditional and independent’ to qualify it as an American craft brewer per the Brewer’s Association.”
The lawsuit does not take issue with the retailer simply selling craft beer.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The lawsuit against Walmart challenges the craft pedigree of their “craft beer.” ” quote=”The lawsuit challenges the craft pedigree of the beer itself.”]
Trouble Brewing is based in Upstate New York and seems to share a business address with Genesee Brewery, a brewing giant known for mass-production of beers popular with the college flip cup crowd.
What’s the big deal?
The class-action suit contends that the packaging and placement of the Trouble Brewing beers on Walmart shelves classifies as “predatory conduct” intended to persuade consumers to part with $2 to $3 more per six-pack for beer that just isn’t up to snuff.
That look and feel is a hot commodity right now, as corporations continue to exploit the craft beer trend.
Teresa Budd, a member of Walmart’s adult beverages team, told the Washington Post that “We were intentional about designing a package that conveyed a look and feel you’d expect of craft beer.”
When Anheuser-Busch InBev took over Goose Island, the recipe was quickly altered – many say not for the better.
There’s a reason it is called craft beer
Be warned, big business: gimmicky trend-chasing can and will backfire. Because while the craft beer movement may have been born of pure intentions – an innocent desire for delicious brews – now it’s at least equally defined by a back-patting superiority, a hipster-ish scorn for mainstream tastes and evil corporations.
Once the corporate cooties touch the virgin craft brewery, its reputation could be sullied forever.