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CUB fined $20k for misleading labelling

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has paid two infringement notices totalling more than $20,000 for misleading labelling which implied one of its beers was brewed by a craft brewer in Byron Bay.

The labelling of the Byron Bay Pale Lager product incorporated the name Byron Bay Pale Lager as well as 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 Byron Bay Brewing Company is a small brewery that, via its parent, licensed to CUB the right to supply Byron Bay Pale Lager across Australia. However the brewery only brews the Lager for sale on tap at its site in Byron Bay. The bottled beer is brewed by CUB at its brewery in Warnervale, some 630km away from Byron Bay.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said CUB’s conduct undermines craft brewery’s point of difference. “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,” he 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.”

In providing the court enforceable undertaking, CUB acknowledged that the labelling may have misled consumers and agreed to cease distribution of product with the misleading labelling. CUB has also said that, moving forward, 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.
 

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