Beer Banned - Stores Shuttered
The Nebraska State Liquor Board voted 3-0 to
end the long-controversial beer sales in Whiteclay,
Nebraska, an unincorporated village known as the
“Skid Row of the Plains” that sells millions of cans
of beer each year to residents of the officially dry
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.The lawyer for the
beer stores, is already working on a court appeal of
the decision. He said commission members had
misinterpreted state liquor laws.
Beer sales in Whiteclay have been blamed for
numerous problems on the Indian reservation,
including rampant alcoholism, alcohol-related
crimes and high levels of fetal alcohol syndrome
that are estimated to affect one in four children.
Typically, In Nebraska, an action to close down a
liquor store is put on hold awaiting the conclusion
of a court appeal. That could take a while: The last
time this happened court appeals took 20 months.
The closest law enforcement office to the
reservation, the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office,
is more than 20 miles away, and response times
are slow. Because Whiteclay is so far away,
ambulances from the Pine Ridge Reservation
answer about 150 rescue calls a year in Whiteclay.
Adequate law enforcement, by law, is a
condition for issuing a liquor license in a community
Fake Brewing - Kona Sued
Deceptive food labels have gotten another company in trouble: This time it’s Kona Brewing
Company, which is being accused of deceiving customers by claiming it’s produced in Hawaii.
A new lawsuit alleges that Craft Brew Alliance, the owners of Kona Brewing Company, which was
founded in Kailua-Kona, “[exploits] strong consumer sentiment for Hawaiian-made products.”
The plaintiffs in the case claim that the labeling on Kona’s beers are misleading: Most of them
feature overt references to their Hawaiian origins, and bare names like “Liquid Aloha” and
“Catch A Wave.” But even though the company began in Hawaii, and does produce beer for
that state, none of the beer Kona sells in the continental United States is actually brewed in
Hawaii—it's produced in several states throughout the U.S.
The suit may not have much to stand on, though: the Kona website clearly states that their
brewing facilities are located across the U.S.Kona joins the ranks of Fosters, Becks—which
had to admit it’s not actually a German beer—Guinness, and Kirin Ichiban, which have all
faced mislabeling lawsuits. In late 2016, a lawsuit was filed in Florida against Coors Light
alleging that the brand deceptively markets the product by advertising that the beer is
“brewed with pure Rocky Mountain spring water.” In the truth, Coors Light is usually brewed
nowhere near the Rockies, except for one facility still located in Colorado. The case is pending.
Recently, cases like these have been dismissed. Take the case of Red Stripe, which was
sued for leading drinkers to believe it actually comes from Jamaica. A judge ruled that it’s slogan
“The Taste of Jamaica,” in no way states that the beer is brewed there, noting that the company
clearly identifies itself as being based in Pennsylvania.
It’s common knowledge that plenty of companies invoke traditions and slogans that are
supposed to stretch the imagination of consumers. Kona is no different. Sure, it’s probably
true that food manufacturers should be more upfront about where their products come from,
but in this case it doesn’t seem like Kona lied outright. Most reasonable beer drinkers aren’t
in it for the surfboard stamped label anyway. But if the people who filed the suit end up
convincing a judge that they really were confused by those labels maybe they’ll be able
to finally afford the real thing.
the crossroads of the beer world
|Brewery Sale Blowback
Within hours of announcing its sale to the maker
of Budweiser, North Carolina’s beloved Wicked
Weed beer lost its voting rights in a craft beer
guild, was booted from collaborations with two
independent breweries and exiled from at least a
handful of stores and restaurants.
The deal represents the latest front in the battle
between macro- and micro-brewers as
behemoths such as Anheuser-Busch Inbev
acquire independent brewers to harness the
craft segment’s fast growth. Wicked Weed will be
one of a dozen brands in Anheuser Busch’s
unit called The High End, which includes
Breck -enridge Brewery in Colorado and
Goose Island Brewery in Illinois.
However, craft beer lovers seemed to take
the sale of Wicked Weed harder than other
recent deals, judging from scores of social
media comments, mainly because of Wicked
Weed’s reputation for independence and
creativity, particularly sour beers.The North
Carolina Craft Brewers Guild announced that the
Asheville brewer would no longer be a voting
member, adding it was “disheartened” by the
sale. Craft brewers Jester King Brewery in
Texas and Black Project in Colorado said they
were backing out of joint projects with
Wicked Weed due to the sale.