Sensing the way the beer winds were blowing, Walmart started selling its own line of craft beers early last year, the Washington Post reports. Now the retail giant is being accused of selling fake craft beers in order to trick customers into paying more in a lawsuit that calls Walmart's craft beers "wholesale fiction." Walmart says it's working in "collaboration" with Trouble Brewing to brew four styles of craft beer. But here's the catch: There's no such US brewery. Government filings say the beer is actually made by WX Brands, and the address listed is for Genesee Brewing, which is based in Costa Rica and makes "cheap college-party staples." So it's little surprise one taste-tester describes Walmart's Red Flag Amber as "good for flip cup."
The four Trouble Brewing craft beers are stocked at more than 3,000 Walmarts in 45 states, where Consumerist reports they're placed on shelves with other craft beers. But the lawsuit alleges the beers—whose packaging gives no evidence Walmart has anything to do with them—don't meet any of the standards for craft beers listed by the Brewers Association, according to Courthouse News. Those standards include being less than 25% owned by a non-craft brewer and making fewer than 6 million barrels of beer per year. An attorney believes WX Brands/Genesee Brewing makes 6 million barrels of beer for Walmart's Trouble Brewing brand alone. The lawsuit, filed in Ohio, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for anyone in the state who's purchased a Trouble Brewing beer. (One man sued because he says Blue Moon's labeling was deceptive.)