Walmart’s 'craft beer' is 'brewed' at an imaginary 'brewery'

Walmart’s 'craft beer' is 'brewed' at an imaginary 'brewery'

VicesFebruary 16, 2017 By Brian Frederick

Last year, Walmart announced the bold claim it would begin selling its own line of craft beer to jam its rabid thumb into the growing specialty market — an industry held completely upright by people who probably haven’t stepped foot inside a Walmart in over 3 years. Nonetheless, four flavors from “Trouble Brewing” are available right now in a multi-pack sold at 3,000 stores in 45 states.

Problem is, Trouble Brewing isn’t a real thing. It doesn’t exist.

This is all coming out now because of one angry beer-snob in Ohio who claims he’s been defrauded out of his money thinking the beer was actually better than it was because of its labeling. So of course, he's suing. 

The lawsuit goes on to say that, “(Walmart’s) craft beer has never been a 'craft beer,' nor has it been produced by a craft brewery. Rather, it is a wholesale fiction created by the defendant that was designed to deceive consumers into purchasing the craft beer at a higher, inflated price."

But the beers have to be brewed somewhere, right? It’s not like little elves are bringing kegs of the stuff in a sleigh during their off-season while Santa summers in the Seychelles.

Government filings say the beer is made by WX Brands, and the address listed for “Trouble Brewing” is for Genesee Brewing, an outlet widely known on the east coast for its watered-down party brew that costs pennies on the dollar compared to the good stuff.

However, the rabbit hole doesn’t stop there: in 2012, Genesee (operating under the North American Breweries name) was bought by Cerveceria Costa Rica S.A. According to the Brewers Association, North American Breweries the 6th largest producer of beer in the world.

That’s not at all what ‘craft’ means, claims the lawsuit. In order to be considered as such, a brewery can produce no more than 6 million barrels of beer per year. In 2015, North American Breweries sold over $341 million worth of booze.

For its effort, Walmart did a great job of trying to hide the fact that it was taking flip-cup beer and packaging it fancy enough to sell at an inflated cost. Though it was probably not the best idea to start screwing with the proud drinkers of craft beer who would love nothing more than to see this venture sink lower than the retail company's ethical standards.