Do Consumers Want to Taste Jamaica?

Alcohol Beverage Makers Fight False Advertising Claims

Eugene M. Pak

©2016. Published in Landslide, Vol. 9, No. 1, September/October 2016, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

In the past few years, alcohol beverage makers have been hit with a variety of class action consumer lawsuits claiming that they have engaged in false or misleading advertising. The large brewer MillerCoors LLC was sued last year in a California class action case alleging that it has misled the public by marketing Blue Moon beer as a craft beer, using the term “artfully crafted,” and portraying the beer as made by a small brewery. Distilled spirits makers, such as Beam Suntory (Maker’s Mark) and Fifth Generation Inc. of Austin, Texas (Tito’s Handmade Vodka), have also been sued in various jurisdictions on claims that their use of the term “handmade” in labels or marketing materials constitutes false advertising. And in August 2015, Diageo PLC, the maker of Red Stripe beer, was sued in a case alleging that consumers were misled by its marketing the beer as “Jamaican” when it is actually brewed in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

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