(Adds details from complaint, comment from defendant,
By Jonathan Stempel
Feb 28 The maker of Kona craft beer was sued on
Tuesday by two California shoppers who claim they were deceived
into believing the beer was made in Hawaii, causing them to
overpay for it.
Sara Cilloni and Simone Zimmer said Craft Brew Alliance Inc
misleads consumers about the origin of its Kona Brewing
Co beers, saying the fifth-largest U.S. craft brewer makes them
in New Hampshire, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington state.
The plaintiffs said the alleged deception includes the use
on labels of hula dancers, surfers, the Kilauea volcano, Waikiki
beach, and other images and phrases associated with Hawaii, as
well as beer names such as Big Wave Golden Ale, Castaway IPA,
Fire Rock Pale Ale and Longboard Island Lager.
Despite this, nothing on the packaging makes clear where the
beer is actually brewed, the complaint said.
"Consumers purchase items, and are willing to pay more for
items, because they are from Hawaii," the complaint said. "Craft
Brew is well aware of this."
A spokeswoman for Craft Brew Alliance said the company does
not discuss pending litigation.
The Portland, Oregon-based company also owns the Redhook and
Widmer Brothers brands, among others.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs was not immediately available
Tuesday's lawsuit filed in the federal court in San Jose,
California, seeks class action status and unspecified damages
for Kona purchasers in that state and nationwide over four
It is one of a handful of lawsuits that have accused beer
sellers of deceptive marketing.
On Feb. 10, Wal-Mart Stores Inc was sued in Ohio by
a consumer who said it sold at a premium price what appeared to
be craft beer under the Trouble Brewing brand, but that no such
brewery existed and the beer was contract-brewed.
Meanwhile, in 2015 a federal judge approved a roughly $20
million settlement of claims that Anheuser-Busch InBev NV
tricked consumers into thinking its St. Louis-brewed
Beck's beer was actually a German pilsner.
An Anheuser affiliate owns nearly one-third of Craft Brew
Alliance, Reuters data show.
The case is Cilloni et al v Craft Brew Alliance Inc et al,
U>S. District Court, Northern District of California, No.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bill