We’ve been hearing a lot about fake news lately. Our president has been accusing some major media outlets of using false sources, but I don’t know about that; I do know there’s a lot of websites out there that put up fake news stories to draw people in. They are atrocious, the source of a lot of lies and misunderstandings, and as much as I hate those sites, there’s something even worse, and that’s fake craft beer.
Now, some of my best friends are craft beer drinkers. They are ashamed of me, because I’m a Keystone or Bud Light kind of guy, and my craft beer drinking friends cringe when they see me sipping on my cheap, mass produced suds. Now, when I’m in a fancy beer state of mind, I’ll switch brands and have a Coors light – good old Colorado Cool Aid, but that’s as far as I’ll go. But I got friends that crave the latest thing from the smallest brewery they can find, and they pay a pretty good premium for it.
Craft beer is big business – with over $22 billion in sales last year – but it is defined as beer made and sold by small, independent breweries. And that’s where fake Craft Beer comes in.
Turns out, the marketing folks at Walmart have heard of this craze, too. Last summer, they starting marketing some craft-looking beers under the Trouble Brewing company label. They were brands like Red Flag Amber, Cats Away IPA, Round Midnight Belgian White and so on. But, as it turns out, Trouble Brewing doesn’t actually exist, according to an investigation done by the Washington Post. They say the beers were actually produced by the Genesee Brewing Company, a major manufacturer back east. In fact, they are the 6th largest beer maker in the country.
There was a lot of outrage in the craft beer world when this story came out. A beer lover from Ohio is reportedly suing Walmart for false advertising. He said that the fact that Trouble Brewing does not exist, and the placement of these false craft beers next to real craft beer on store shelves, made people think they were getting a craft beer when they weren’t.
I’m just going to enjoy my Colorado Cool-aid a little more now…
Len Wilcox here – that’s the Western View.