Anheuser-Busch has been associated with quality beer for a long time, but since their merger with InBev in 2008, things have gotten, shall we say, a little sketchy. Most recently, they are facing class-action lawsuits alleging the company waters down their beers and cheats consumers out of the alcohol content stated on the labels.
These lawsuits aren’t from consumers who think the beer tastes diluted; they are from former employees who claim they saw the deception in action. Josh Boxer, the lead lawyer for the suits, says that all the products mentioned in the lawsuits are watered down and that it is a simple cost-saving measure that is very significant. He also said he has evidence to back up the former employees’ allegations, but didn’t elaborate further.
Which products are being called out? We think you may recognize a few names: Budweiser, Bud Ice, Bud Light Platinum, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, King Cobra, Busch Ice, Natural Ice and Bud Light Lime.
The lawsuits says that since the InBev merger, Anheuser-Busch has gone from accurately measuring alcohol content to within one-hundredth of a percent, to sacrificing the quality products once produced by the company. Suits have been filed in several states and each one is seeking at least $5 million in damages. Some of the plaintiffs include a Pennsylvania couple who buy six cases of affected Anheuser-Busch products a month, and a California woman who says she bought a six-pack of Budweiser every week for the past four years.
How is Anheuser-Busch InBev responding to all of this? Denying, denying, denying… of course. They even took out full-page ads in 10 U.S. newspapers on Sunday, including The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, to address the issue with a bit of humor. The ad shows a can of drinking water – just one of the 71 million they sent to the American Red Cross and other relief organizations in the past – and said “They must have tested one of these.”
What do you think of this? If you drink any of these brands, have you noticed watered-down beer? Share your stories with us here, or on Twitter.