Genesee Brewing caught up in debate over 'craft' beer amid Walmart lawsuit


The plaintiff called Walmart's "Trouble Brewing" label a "wholesale fiction" and "deceptive", especially when packaged next to actual craft beer products.

According to court documents cited by Courthouse News, the beverages, which were first introduced on the market past year, in actually are being churned out by Genesee Brewing Co, an operation located in Rochester, New York.

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The giant retailer is being sued for deceiving consumers by selling them a line of private-label "craft beers" that aren't actually craft beer.

The first Craft Academy course is already underway, with two apprentices playing a crucial role in the launch, sales and marketing of its first range of beers and in the creation of future core, seasonal and limited edition products.

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"We were intentional about designing a package that conveyed the look and the feel you'd expect of craft beer", Teresa Budd had said. (Googling it does get you a real one in Ireland, though, so Walmart might have another lawsuit on its hands soon.) A California-based distributor called WX Brands owns the trademark, but lists a business address for Genesee's brewery in Rochester, New York. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America, SAVOR℠: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week. At those locations, it is sold along with craft beers, which the lawsuit states is "false advertising" in a way because the beer isn't craft beer at all. "Trouble Brewing's Red Flag Amber Ale was described as 'flabby, ' 'knock-you-over-the-head syrupy sweet" and 'good for flip cup'". "Again, by placing the craft beer on its shelves with other 'craft beers, ' defendant is further perpetuating the myth that it's a craft beer". Intense fans of craft beers, the ones who will set aside a weekend afternoon to make a special trip to a distant bar or independent liquor store to taste a locally-produced, small-batch beer that isn't available elsewhere, are not the same people who are buying their beer at Wal-Mart.

Brewers Association craft beer program director Julia Herz said that the association doesn't define "craft beer" but "craft brewer".

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Though the beer is advertised as brewed by Rochester-based Trouble Brewing, a recent Washington Post report stated that no USA brewery by that name exists. WX Brands, which is really Genesee Brewing, makes 6 million barrels of beer for Trouble Brewing by itself per year, thus making it not a craft beer.