BP #4: Walmart and the Fake Craft Beer

Article Here.

So, this is an interesting story for sure. Walmart is being sued by a customer under allegations that their beer line, Troubled Brewing, is being sold as a craft beer when it is instead manufactured in an industrial brewery in Rochester, NY.  In this light, they sell a highly-manufactured beer at a higher price and package it in a way to make it seem more like a craft beer.

In a way, this is similar to the Ring of Gyges. Walmart is a company with billions of dollars, allowing them to do some shady things. While this may not be the most extraordinary case of them abusing their power, it still stands that they are abusing it. With their power, they are producing and marketing a beer as a craft good even though it definitely is not. This takes advantage of any customer that is unknowledgeable about craft beers.

Now the question of what constitutes a craft beer from regular beer has some sort of significant conversation, but the fact that this beer was manufactured industrially, then marketed as if it was something more craft or artisan. Any company without the power and wealth of Walmart could not get away with it, however, because of Walmart’s power they are able to market this product in their store.

If Walmart was to conduct their business ethically, they could produce this beer at a higher level, market it as a craft beer, but then charge the appropriate amount of money for other beers of the same caliber. I think it’s justified that this customer is taking action against Walmart because it is definitely a breach of trust between Walmart and their consumers.


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