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New lawsuit against brewery: Man claims ‘injury’ buying 12-pack not made in Hawaii

Updated: 
March 10, 2017 - 9:29am

KAILUA-KONA — Another lawsuit filed in a federal court in California is accusing Craft Brew Alliance Inc., which owns Kona Brewing Co., of misleading shoppers into believing they’re buying beer made in Hawaii.

It’s the second such lawsuit in as many weeks. An attorney for two other California residents filed a similar case on Feb. 28.

Unlike the earlier case, this one, filed March 6, specifically includes Kona Brewing Co. LLC, as well as Kona Brew Enterprises LLC and Kona Brewery LLC, as defendants in addition to Craft Brew Alliance. The earlier case was filed only against Craft Brew Alliance.

The new lawsuit alleges violations of California business laws, common law fraud and misrepresentation, among others.

The plaintiff in the new case, a San Francisco resident, alleges that the companies used “deceptive advertising” to mislead those who purchased the beer, according to federal court documents.

In February, documents state, the plaintiff bought a 12-pack of Longboard Island Lager, relying on illustrations of a beach, surfers and other details in the belief that “he was purchasing a product brewed in Hawaii.”

“(The) plaintiff purchased the Longboard Island Lager relying on the content of the labeling and packaging … and reasonably (believed) that the product was brewed in Hawaii,” court documents state.

The plaintiff “would not have purchased the product or would have paid significantly less for the product had he known that the product was brewed in the continental United States,” documents state. The document doesn’t state how much he paid for the beer.

As a result, he “suffered injury in fact and lost money,” because of the alleged misrepresentation.

Kona Brewing Co.’s website acknowledges that much of its beer is brewed in locations outside of Hawaii Island.

The facility in Kailua-Kona produces more than 12,000 barrels annually, but its bottled beer and mainland draft is produced in breweries located in Oregon, Washington state, Tennessee and New Hampshire.

That list of locations, also including Kona, is printed on the labeling of Kona Brewing Co. products.

Like the earlier lawsuit, this one is also being brought as a class action case on behalf of everyone who, within the legal statute of limitations, bought the products in question. The lawsuit class described in this case specifically excludes Hawaii residents.

No response from any of the defendants had been filed by Thursday afternoon.

A spokesperson for Craft Brew Alliance said she was unable to comment on the litigation.

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