Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has had to pay $20,400 for representing that its Byron Bay Pale Lager was brewed by a small brewer in Byron Bay when this wasn't so.
In fact, the beer was brewed by CUB at its brewery in Warnervale, some 630km away from Byron Bay, according to the ACCC.
The Byron Bay Brewing Company is a small brewery that does brew Byron Bay Pale Lager for sale on tap at its site in Byron Bay, however, it licensed to CUB the right to supply Byron Bay Pale Lager Australia wide.
Last year CUB began supplying Byron Bay Pale Lager with labelling that incorporated the name Byron Bay Pale Lager, a pictorial representation of a lighthouse, text regarding Byron Bay and a map of the Byron Bay region showing the location of the Byron Bay Brewing Company.
The description on the back label reads as follows: The Byron Bay Brewing Co is located on Skinner’s Shoot Road in Byron Bay. We’re housed in a historic location, a birthplace of much of the fame and spirit of Byron Bay which has attracted local and international musicians, artists and alternative thinkers since the ‘70s. Next time you’re in town, drop in and have a beer.
“Many small brewers cater to consumers who prefer to support small, niche businesses. When large companies portray themselves as small businesses, it undermines the unique selling point that such small businesses depend upon, and it misleads consumers,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
“The ACCC will be writing to other participants putting them on notice of this matter in order to ensure that marketing and labelling in the beer market appropriately reflects where and by whom beer is brewed.”
CUB has agreed to cease distribution of product with the misleading labelling and has also undertaken that it will not make false or misleading representations concerning the scale of the brewery in which its products are brewed or the place of origin of its products.
CUB will place corrective notices on its website and in trade publications, and it will also provide a corrective notice for retailers to display at point-of-sale.
“This is an outcome that protects the interests of both beer buyers and small brewers,” Sims said.