Judge: Beer Drinkers Can’t Sue Red Stripe For “Jamaican Style” Beer Brewed In The U.S.

Image courtesy of shonuff444

Just because something is made in another country’s style, does that mean it has to actually be produced in that foreign land? Not necessarily, a judge said recently in dismissing a potential class action lawsuit accusing Red Stripe of false advertising, among other things, because its “Jamaican style lager” has been made right here in the United States since 2012.

U.S. District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz said beer drinkers can’t sue Diageo-Guinness for labeling its Red Stripe brew with terms like “Jamaican Style Lager” and “The Taste of Jamaica,” despite the fact that it’s produced in Latrobe, Pa., by City Brewing Co., reports Courthouse News Service.

The two plaintiffs had sued claiming they bought Red Stripe because of those labels, and were seeking class certification and damages for false advertising, unfair competition, business law violations, and negligent and intentional misrepresentation.

“(T)he Court finds that a reasonable customer would not be misled by the visible packaging into believing that Red Stripe is brewed in Jamaica with Jamaican ingredients,” Moskowitz wrote in dismissing the complaint without prejudice. “The mere fact that the word ‘Jamaica’ and ‘Jamaican’ appear on the packaging is not sufficient to support a conclusion that consumers would be confused regarding the origin and ingredients of the beer.”

In his ruling he cited Forschner Group, Inc. v. Arrow Trading Co., in which the Second Circuit held that the phrase “Swiss Army knife cannot fairly be read to mean “made in Switzerland.”

Moskowitz concluded that although the plaintiffs can’t state a claim for deception or misrepresentation based on the Red Stripe bottle labels or packaging for the 12-packs or 6-packs, they can amend their complaint to assert claims based on other facts, and file it again within 15 days.

Red Stripe was first brewed in Jamaica starting in 1938, and was imported to the U.S. starting in 1985. The company that owned the rights before Diageo-Guiness moved production to Pennsylvania in 2012.

‘Sorry, Mon, You Can’t Sue Red Stripe’ [Courthouse News Service]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.