Sometimes the line between craft and large-batch brew gets a little fuzzy. Blue Moon, for example, is a MillerCoors beer masquerading under an artsy label.

Wait, you didn’t know Blue Moon was brewed by the world’s second-biggest macrobrewer? Neither did San Diego beer drinker Evan Parent, who is suing Miller Coors for false advertisingParent claims he’s been buying Blue Moon all these years thinking it was a “craft beer.” He’s pissed that the beer is advertised as “artfully crafted,” and that MillerCoors puts “Blue Moon Brewing Company,” but not “Coors,” on the label.

Fun fact: Blue Moon Brewery—a small, limited capacity brewery located inside Coors Field—does not produce the Blue Moon sold in stores. Gawker points out,

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[Blue Moon is] made in the same huge Colorado and North Carolina plants that bring you Miller High Life and Milwaukee’s Best, but it costs much more per bottle than those products.

[/pullquote]But what is a craft brewery, exactly? The Brewers Association defines craft breweries as companies that produce less than six million barrels of beer annually and are no more than 25% owned by a major brewer. MillerCoors produces 76 million barrels of beer (and similar alcoholic beverages) per year. Oops!

Although, the BA definition of “craft” isn’t legally binding, so we’ll have to wait and see if Parent’s case is successful.

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Photo: VinePair


The Brewers Association previously called out Big Beer companies SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev for trying to create sub-brands that mislead consumers into thinking that they are “craft.” On the subject of brand transparency, Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the Brewers Association, told Fortune:

We say the beer lover has a right to know, when they have a beer in their hand, if they’re drinking a beer from a large global brewery. There is a difference in terms of what small brewers go through vs. what large, global brewers go through.

But is it the brewery’s responsibility to be 100% transparent, or is it the consumer’s responsibility to take a deeper look at the beer they are drinking? All we know is: Blue Moon is Big Beer.

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