When you’re ordering up a pint of Guinness at the pub or tipping back a Kirin with your sushi, you might assume you’re sipping on a fancy imported beer. But if you happen to be in the United States, chances are that beer was brewed a lot closer to home.
A spate of lawsuits have been filed against beers over whether or not their stated (or perceived) origin is accurate. Some are based on the (assumed) imported nature of the beer. Brands like Guinness, Kirin and Fosters all come laden with connotations that they’re from foreign countries—Ireland, Japan or Australia, respectively. But domestic beers aren’t safe from the ire of consumers either. Coors doesn’t brew the majority of it’s beer anywhere near the Rockies, and even Kona was called out for actually producing it’s products on the Lower 48.
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When it comes to commercial beers like Budweiser and Miller, there's likely less of a consumer expectation that they're getting something from one specific facility tucked away in the hills of Missouri. But with the craft beer boom comes a wave of aficionados keen to know what story that beer has to tell. Part of that story, as it is with wine and whiskey, is just where that beer comes from. But the demands of a growing business also require even homegrown breweries to expand and open up production lines in other locations.
In one standout instance, a man even sued Leffe claiming he thought the beer was made in an actual Belgian Abbey. The beer, which is produced in Belgium, was taken to court over language on the label that stated “brewed and perfected by Belgian monks” and “750 years of Belgian tradition.”
So are customers taking their complaints too far? That's for the beer community to decide.