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.
Mount Bethel Winery is the third oldest winery in the state of Arkansas....read more ›
Once again this program will feature the annual release of Treasure Chest beer packaged in 22 oz. bottles across most of the nation....read more ›
Now, dog lovers can share in the joy of drinking with their pet, as Apollo Peak has finally released dog wine....read more ›
With profits plummeting by almost a quarter recently, there's only one thing Chipotle seems think will help its business - giving away free alcohol. ...read more ›
Matthew McConaughey is a lot of things: an actor, a musician, and now, the creative director for Wild Turkey Bourbon....read more ›
The Thirstbat, a product you definitely never asked for, is finally here....read more ›
Shmaltz Brewing, a Jewish brewery in New York, is releasing two Star Trek-themed beers....read more ›
Ommegang and Game of Thrones are teaming up for another new beer release this fall....read more ›
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Pulitzer, and MacArthur Genius winner and creator of Hamilton, will appear on Comedy Central's Drunk Histo...read more ›
The Campbell Apartment, a New York institution connected to Grand Central Station, will close at the end of July....read more ›
These are no ordinary beverage delivery vessels. ...read more ›
You need to head for Colorado Springs for the Maker's Mark Weekend at The Broadmoor....read more ›