Drink Magazine

A-B Accused of Watering Down Beer, Lawsuit Alledges

By Marc Wisdom @JaxBeerGuy

anheuser_buschIt’s the news that rocked the beer world, Anheuser-Busch the mega brewer of some of the world’s most popular macro lagers, is being sued by two California residents because of alleged watering down of Budweiser and other beers “significantly” to boost profits. As soon as the lawsuit was announced on Tuesday, February 26, it was all over the Internet’s beer sites and bulletin boards.

The suit raises allegations that A-B has the ability and technology to monitor the amount of alcohol in its products, yet has intentionally injected water into the beers to reduce the amount of alcohol in them. On the heels of a similar watering-down scandal involving Maker’s Mark bourbon, this law suit has an all too familiar ring.

In part, the lawsuit alledges; “There are no impediments — economic, practical or legal — to AB accurately labeling its products to reflect their true alcohol content Nevertheless, AB uniformly misrepresents and overstates that content.”

“The claims against Anheuser-Busch are completely false, and these lawsuits are groundless,” said Peter Kraemer, vice president of brewing and supply for Anheuser-Busch. “Our beers are in full compliance with all alcohol labeling laws.

“We proudly adhere to the highest standards in brewing our beers, which have made them the best-selling in the U.S. and the world.”

The suits plaintifs, Nina Giampaoli and John Elbert, say that once they discovered the beers were watered down they immediately stopped purchasing them. The pair points out Bud Ice, Bud Lite Platinum, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, King Cobra, Busch Ice, Natural Ice and Bud Light Lime as the products in question.

With output of more than 10 billion gallons of beer and other malt-based beverages in 2011, the A-B’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, generated gross profits of more than $22 billion. That makes them the world’s largest adult beverage producer.

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