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CUB takes rap for misleading consumers with city-brewed country beer

By RJ Whitehead , 29-Apr-2014
Last updated on 29-Apr-2014 at 12:01 GMT

Carlton & United Breweries will relabel stocks of beer that it acknowledges might have “misled” consumers into believing the product had been brewed hundreds of kilometres away from its real source. 

The move came in response to concerns by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which has accepted CUB’s court-enforceable undertaking. CUB has also paid two infringement notices to the value of A$20,400 (US$18,900) in relation to this conduct.

630km away

The ACCC’s position was that CUB had represented its Byron Bay Pale Lager as being produced by a small brewer in Byron Bay, when in fact this was not the case.

In 2013, 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 ACCC said in a statement.

In fact, the beer was brewed by CUB at its brewery in Warnervale, some 630km away from Byron Bay.”

The Byron Bay Brewing Company is a small brewery that licensed the right to supply Byron Bay Pale Lager Australia-wide to CUB via its parent. Indeed, the northeastern New South Wales company only brews Byron Bay Pale Lager for sale on tap at its site in Byron Bay.

Niche businesses

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 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 their origin.

The company will place corrective notices on its website and in trade publications, and 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.” Mr Sims said.

An emailed statement to FoodNavigator-Asia by CUB said: "Byron Bay Pale Lager is owned by the Byron Bay Brewing Company but brewed and distributed by CUB under a third party arrangement with BBBC.

"CUB treats its commitment to the law seriously and has worked with the ACCC over many months to address their concerns. The labelling has been revised to better disclose the third party contracting relationship between the Byron Bay Brewing Company and CUB."

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