THE DRINK NATION IS A FREE RESOURCE FOR FINDING EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT DRINKING IN YOUR LOCATION
San Diego Trip Giveaway Header

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
Perfect Punches for Your Super Bowl Party
Beer Review: Featherweight Pale Ale by Cannonball Creek Brewing
Cocktail Courier: Better Drinks, Delivered
Home Bar Project Below Features
From Around The Web

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:
 
The Craft Beer Billionaire Club Adds A Member

The Craft Beer Billionaire Club Adds A Member

Sierra Nevada Brewing's Ken Grossman joins the minimal ranks of craft beer billionaires. ...read more ›

by Ryan Hudak Jan 27, 2015
Cocktail Courier: Better Drinks, Delivered

Cocktail Courier: Better Drinks, Delivered

Cocktail Courier delivers all the ingredients and information for crafting cocktail-bar worthy drinks right to your door....read more ›

by Seanan Forbes Jan 26, 2015
UK Company Creates Guinness Flavored Chips

UK Company Creates Guinness Flavored Chips

UK company releases original Guinness flavored and Guinness Rich Beef Chilli flavored potato chips. ...read more ›

by Kate Monzo Jan 26, 2015
SPONSORED
Perennial Funding - rectangle
Top 20 Drinking Quotes of All Time

Top 20 Drinking Quotes of All Time

Writers and musicians have a long, storied history with alcohol, and that intimacy with the bottle shows through in the memorable lines these artists ...read more ›

by Jenny An Sep 3, 2013
Brew Big Red: A Brewery Tour of Lincoln, NE

Brew Big Red: A Brewery Tour of Lincoln, NE

The college town of Lincoln, Nebraska is home to plenty of impressive taps....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Jan 26, 2015
Home Bar Project: How to Make a French 75

Home Bar Project: How to Make a French 75

Have you ever dreamed of having an amazing home bar, filled with bottles you actually use and the tools you need to execute a finely crafted cocktail?...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jan 26, 2015
10 Session-Friendly Craft Brews to Drink Instead of Light Beer on Super Bowl Sunday

10 Session-Friendly Craft Brews to Drink Instead of Light Beer on Super Bowl Sunday

Somewhere along the way, watching pro sports became synonymous with drinking light beers, but there are plenty...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jan 26, 2015
Anheuser-Busch Buys Seattle's Elysian Brewing in a Deal No One Saw Coming

Anheuser-Busch Buys Seattle's Elysian Brewing in a Deal No One Saw Coming

It was announced Friday that Elysian Brewing in Seattle has been sold to Anheuser-Busch. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jan 23, 2015
Follow Grapes from Seed to Bottle in New Film 'A Year in Champagne'

Follow Grapes from Seed to Bottle in New Film 'A Year in Champagne'

This David Kennard film explores the story of the Champagne region and the 'magical transformation' of grapes ...read more ›

by Kate Monzo Jan 22, 2015
Where to Get Caffeinated in DC with a Boozy Twist

Where to Get Caffeinated in DC with a Boozy Twist

Sometimes you need a little boost to get through your day. ...read more ›

by Mara Kurlandsky Jan 22, 2015
SPONSORED
Read The Drink Nation Anywhere You Are
View all Articles

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

Close