Class Action Suits Accuse Anheuser-Busch of Watering Down Beer

by The Drink Nation on Feb 27, 2013 in Beer
Class Action Suits Accuse Anheuser-Busch of Watering Down Beer

Didn’t we just get past a watered-down booze controversy? A series of lawsuits were filed in federal courts in three states this week, each accusing macrobrewing giant A-B InBev’s St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch division of selling Budweiser and other beer at a lower ABV percentage than listed on the label.

The complaints, filed in Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey, claim that up to 10 different beers in the company’s roster have been ending up on shelves with less alcohol than they are supposed to contain. The class action suits aim to remunerate consumers who got less booze than they thought they paid for, and are asking for upwards of $5 million each. The real damage, however, might come from the media outcry and customer backlash.

How the watering-down might be occurring is not entirely clear, but the suits are based on information from former employees at some of the 13 breweries A-B operates in the U.S. These people claim extra water is added just before bottling, reducing the alcohol in each bottle by between 3%–8%.

Considering that Budweiser has a pretty low 5% ABV to begin with, the difference would not be very noticeable to the drinker (an 8% reduction would lead to an ABV of 4.6% instead of 5%), but the savings (and therefore profits) for Aneheuser-Busch certainly would be.

A-B’s vice-president has called the claims “completely false,” but the cost-cutting methods jibe with the known techniques of CEO Carlos Brito, who ascended to the position when Anheuser-Busch merged with InBev in 2008. Brito is known for being ruthless in management, and prizing financial savings over quality control.

"Following the merger, [Anheuser-Busch] vigorously accelerated the deceptive practices, sacrificing the quality products once produced by Anheuser-Busch in order to reduce costs," the lawsuit said, according to the BBC.

The lawsuits come when A-B InBev is facing its first hurdle in its global expansion; the U.S. Department of Justice recently threatened to block the beer giant’s takeover of Grupo Modelo (makers of Corona and Modelo) under antitrust laws. A-B Inbev already controls more than 50% of the Belgian-Brazilian company, but the merger would give the congolomerate unprecedented control over both U.S. and world beer markets.

Perhaps the “watering down” lawsuits, combined with the U.S. goverment’s wariness, will put up a stumbling block to the unbending campaign of the company to flood stores with tasteless macrobrew and keep craft beer off the shelves.

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Where You Can Rosé All Day in Denver

Where You Can Rosé All Day in Denver

You'll find plenty of rosé to keep you sippin' all summer long....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Jul 9, 2019
Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Negroni Week 2019 is June 24-30, so drink this classic cocktail for a good cause....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 19, 2019
What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

If you're taking an Uber, Lyft, or cab and feel unsafe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself....read more ›

by Nina Starner Jun 19, 2019
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Beer Here! History Colorado Looks At Our Brewing Past
by Carrie Dow Jun 18, 2019
Check Out Denver's Not Quite Dive Bar, Occidental

Check Out Denver's Not Quite Dive Bar, Occidental

Occidental is supposed to be the edgy, punk, dingy dive bar next door....read more ›

by Carrie Dow May 28, 2019
Enjoy Cantina Cocktails & More at Denver's Comida

Enjoy Cantina Cocktails & More at Denver's Comida

If you can't find something to drink here, you're not trying....read more ›

by Carrie Dow May 28, 2019
Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

This time on Behind the Bar, we spoke to Kat Corbo of The Study, who recently won Speed Rack 2019....read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 15, 2019
Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

In a huge move for the American craft beer community, Boston Beer and Dogfish Head have agreed to a merger valued at $300 million dollars. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 10, 2019
A Slice of Brooklyn Comes to Denver at DC Pie Co.

A Slice of Brooklyn Comes to Denver at DC Pie Co.

Let's get to know our new neighbor from The Empire State....read more ›

by Carrie Dow May 9, 2019
Pints Are Pouring at Denver's Empourium

Pints Are Pouring at Denver's Empourium

Ready to serve you a plethora of easy sipping brews....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Apr 17, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close