Beer
3:23 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Budwater? Lawsuits Say AB-InBev Is Watering Down Its Brews

Updated 3:34 p.m.

Beer lovers across the country have filed $5 million class-action lawsuits accusing Anheuser-Busch of watering down its Budweiser, Michelob and other brands.

The suits were filed in Pennsylvania, California and other states on behalf of consumers allegedly cheated out of the beverage's stated alcohol content. Budweiser and Michelob each boast being 5 percent alcohol, while some "light" versions are said to be just over 4 percent.

Lead lawyer Josh Boxer of San Rafael, Calif., said Tuesday the suits are based on information from former employees at some of the company's 13 U.S. breweries. Boxer said water is added just before bottling, and cuts the stated alcohol content by 3 to 8 percent.

The multinational Anheuser-Busch InBev calls the claims groundless, and says its beers fully comply with labeling laws. 

How did the plaintiffs determine that the alcohol content was reduced? Bloomberg News reports:

It’s unclear in the complaints how the plaintiffs determined the alcohol content was less than stated. Boxer said the complaints are based on information from former workers at some of the company’s 13 U.S. breweries.

“On information and belief this is a corporate policy of AB to intentionally short the alcohol content,” Boxer said in a phone interview. “We believe this is a corporate policy that comes from AB InBev and trickles down.”

It's been an interesting time lately for watered-down alcohol (or the allegation of it).

The producers of Maker's Mark bourbon in Kentucky caused a bit of a stir when they announced they'd be cutting the alcohol content in their product due to production issues. The company received so much negative feedback that they decided to go back to the original formula

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