WXXI AM News

What's brewing at Genesee?

Feb 16, 2017

Walmart is being accused of selling phony craft beer in its stores.

A lawsuit alleges the company is deceiving customers by selling four craft beers that don't meet the standards for craft beers as listed by the Brewers Association.

Breaking news and beer reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle, Will Cleveland, says Walmart is reportedly making the beer in collaboration with a company called Trouble Brewing.

But that company doesn't exist -- it's a brand owned by WX Brands, and their corporate address is 445 St. Paul Street -- the same as the Genesee Brewery.

Cleveland says this is all part of the common practice of contract brewing.

"Look at Shipyard, out in Maine.  It's just a huge, huge brewery, and they do a ton of craft beer contract brewing.  Genesee does a lot of contract brewing," he said.

The Brewers Association definition for craft brewing is a brewery that makes less than six million barrels a year, and Genesee far exceeds that.

Genesee also doesn't comment on its contract brewing partnerships.

Cleveland adds WX Brands has told him that the definition of craft beer, which is at the heart of the lawsuit, isn't legally enforceable.

He says when it comes to craft beer, it's "buyer beware."

And the fact that the Trouble Brewing product is $4 to $5 dollars cheaper than other craft beers should raise suspicions.