Kona Brewing Co. lawsuit moving forward

KAILUA-KONA (AP) — A lawsuit against the owner of Kona Brewing Co. will proceed after a federal judge in California denied a motion to dismiss it.

The lawsuit against Craft Brew Alliance and others claims that the brewery makes customers believe Kona Brewing Co. beer is brewed in Hawaii by using images and phrases associated with the state on their packaging and labeling, violating consumer protection laws, West Hawaii Today reported.

While the Kailua-Kona facility produces over 12,000 barrels of beer annually, the company’s bottled beer and Mainland draft is produced at facilities outside of Hawaii, according the company’s website. Other Kona Brewing Co. facility locations are listed on the beer labels, including Portland, Ore., and Memphis, Tenn.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman agreed that some phrases and labeling imagery were not enough to bring a lawsuit, but did find issue with a label map of Hawaii marking the Kona brewery and an invitation to visit it and pubs.

The judge determined the map and the invitation “do more than evoke the ‘spirit’ of Hawaii or indicate that the beer is ‘Hawaiian-style’ “ and could potentially fool consumers into thinking the beer was made in Hawaii.

The company is positive about the outcome of the suit, said Craft Brew Alliance spokeswoman Jenny Mc-Lean.

“Looking ahead, we are excited to continue work on our new brewery in Kona and remain passionate and proud of our beers, brand and strong commitment to the Hawaiian community,” she said.

Trial is scheduled for August 2020.