First, it was Beck’s. Then, it was Kirin. Now, a class-action lawsuit is going after Diageo, makers of Red Stripe, saying that the Jamaican-style lager doesn’t do enough to fully disclose that it is actually brewed in that non-island nation of Pennsylvania — in the city of Latrobe, to be exact.
The success of previous lawsuits against big brewers who have exported the production of “imported” beers seems to have opened the floodgates of similar lawsuits going after brands with a foreign legacy that are now brewed in the United States. Though the previous two class-action suits came from a law firm in Florida and went after a couple of Anheuser-Busch InBev brands, this new suit against Red Stripe comes from a San Diego–based law firm, Robbins Arroyo. The claims of the lawsuit are nearly identical, however.
The plaintiffs state that Red Stripe — which has labeling with phrases like “Jamaican-style lager” and “taste of Jamaica” prominently displayed on the bottles — only used “obscure white text” when mentioning that the brew actually comes from Latrobe. In another allegation similar to the ones levied against Anheuser-Busch InBev, the suit also claims that this information can’t be seen until the bottles are removed from the packaging.
If the AB-InBev cases provide any precedent, this Red Stripe lawsuit probably has some merit, and as long as the money’s there, it’s safe to think we might see even more suits like this in the future. I actually just got an inside tip that there are thousands of India Pale Ales out there that aren’t even brewed in India! It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
[h/t First We Feast]