America’s love affair with craft beers has been growing steadily over the past decade. The desire to pay slightly more in exchange for beer that doesn’t taste like it was watered down with the bitter tears of Adolph Coors’ ghost is responsible for the craft beer market growing by double digits for eight of the last 10 years, accounting for more than a tenth of total U.S. beer sales beginning in 2015. So it’s understandable that other companies might want to get into such a seemingly lucrative market. Unfortunately, it requires actually brewing craft beer, not just slapping a new label on your shitty mass-produced beer and jacking up the price. But such nuances are apparently beyond the ken of Walmart (new tagline: “Walmart—we figured out how to make lettuce give you diabetes!”), as USA Today reports the retail chain is being sued for selling fake craft beer in an effort to get consumers to pay more for the product.
Walmart announced last year that it had begun selling its own line of craft beers, claiming it was ”working in ‘collaboration’ with Trouble Brewing to brew four styles of craft beer.” Which would be a smart business move, except for the part where “Trouble Brewing” doesn’t actually exist. According to government filings, the beer is made by WX Brands from a location in Costa Rica, where a company named “Genesee Brewing” makes beer identified as “cheap college-party staples.” USA Today, throwing the kind of shade normally reserved for drag competitions, notes one taste-tester for Walmart’s phony craft beer described the flavor as “good for flip cup.”
According to the lawsuit, the bullshit “Trouble Brewing” beer doesn’t meet any of the criteria for craft beer, let alone explain why you’re paying more for anything Walmart makes, since that kind of flies in the face of the retail giant’s whole raison d’etre. For example, to qualify, it would need to be more 25 percent owned by a craft brewer and making fewer than 6 million barrels of beer a year, both of which are conditions Walmart reportedly fails with flying colors. The lawsuit is seeking compensatory damages for anyone who shelled out dough for Trouble Brewing—however, it should really also include payments for anyone who was forced to listen to a craft beer snob at a party talking about how the hops he uses are treated with vanilla and jasmine or whatever. That’s not specific to Trouble Brewing, of course, but it is super annoying.
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