What is craft beer? Courts weigh definitions

- What comes to mind when you think of a craft beer? A beer like Blue Moon, for example, probably wouldn't fall into that category, right? Well according to a federal lawsuit, it does.

This week a judge threw out a lawsuit against Blue Moon's maker -- MillerCoors-- for deceptive marketing practices. The suit took issue with blue moon's label "artfully crafted" even though the beer is brewed at the same plant where MillerCoors makes beers that are generally considered noncraft. The lawsuit was dismissed after MillerCoors argued that there is no legal definition for the term "craft beer."

Candace Moon, an attorney specializing in the craft beer industry, says that just because a beer is labeled "craft" doesn't mean it is using local ingredients or is from a small brewery. So does that mean that any beer could label itself "craft" and get away with it? Moon says yes, if the beer is consistent with a dictionary definition of "craft."

The Brewers Association, an industry trade group, has its own definition for what it means to be a craft brewer. You have to be small, traditional, and independent. But with the number of craft beer houses growing year after year, Alan Rice the owner of City Swiggers says that definition is fluid.

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