Lawsuit Says Anheuser-Busch Beers Are Even More Watered Down Than You Think

Have Budweiser drinkers been less buzzed? Former employees at Anheuser-Busch breweries say that they routinely watered down popular beers such as Budweiser, Michelob, Natural Ice, and Bud Light Platinum.

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Have Budweiser drinkers been getting less buzzed? Former employees at Anheuser-Busch breweries say that they routinely watered down popular beers such as Budweiser, Michelob, Natural Ice, and Bud Light Platinum. Class-action lawsuits have been filed in three states accusing the brewery giant of selling beers that overstated the amount of alcohol they contained.

This week, lawyers filed suits in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California on the behalf of drinkers who may have purchased beers that packed less punch, alcohol-wise, than their labels led consumers to believe. Each of the three suits is seeking damages of more than $5 million, and more lawsuits are expected to be filed against Anheuser-Busch, specifically in Ohio and Colorado. Lawyers say that the watering down of beers can result in beers that contain 3% to 8% less alcohol than their labels indicate.

“There are no impediments — economic, practical or legal — to (A-B) accurately labeling its products to reflect their true alcohol content,” the lead suit, filed in California, claims, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Nevertheless, (A-B) uniformly misrepresents and overstates that content.”

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The claims are apparently based on statements from former brewery workers around the country, who say that the breweries routinely added extra water just before bottling to 11 beers, including Bud Ice, Bud Light Platinum, Bud Light Lime, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, regular old Budweiser, and even the new brew, Black Crown. What’s especially noteworthy is that Black Crown and Bud Light Platinum are new products that have been marketed specifically as richer, higher-alcohol beers—6% by volume, compared to 4.2% for Bud Light.

“AB’s customers are overcharged for watered-down beer and AB is unjustly enriched by the additional volume it can sell,” lawyers stated in a Philadelphia court, per Bloomberg News.

In San Francisco, lead attorney Josh Boxer, said, “Consumers are paying good money for beer that they think has a certain quality and characteristic that it doesn’t have.”

The suit alleges that Anheuser-Busch increasingly watered down its beers after the company merged with InBev in 2008, creating the world’s largest beer company. “Following the merger, AB vigorously accelerated the deceptive practices,” the suit states, “sacrificing the quality products once produced by Anheuser-Busch in order to reduce costs.”

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Budweiser is still the third most popular beer in the U.S., but sales have been slumping for more than two decades, due at least partly to the rise of richer, tastier, higher-alcohol craft beers. Things have gotten to the point that the 2011 decrease of “just” 4.4% in Bud sales was considered a success for the company.

While the statements of former brewery employees make Anheuser-Busch look bad, the plaintiffs haven’t had the beverages independently tested for alcohol content to see how watered-down the beers truly were—if at all. Anheuser-Busch will surely point out this lack of proof when the time comes. The company also released a strongly worded statement, from vice president of brewing and supply Peter Kraemer:

“The claims against Anheuser-Busch are completely false, and these lawsuits are groundless … Our beers are in full compliance with all alcohol labeling laws.”

15 comments
aljade82
aljade82

This reminds me of an old Monty Python joke. 

Q: What's the difference between having sex in a canoe and American beer?

A: One is f****** near water, and the other is near f****** water.

I do find it rather comical that drinkers of Budweiser would be suing over watered down beer. The stuff is designed to be a cheap way to get drunk and tastes like crap anyway. Pick a good microbrew or import if you want quality stuff. European beers, especially from Germany, Belgium, England and Eastern Europe are pretty amazing, but they can pack quite a punch (e.g. Black Boss porter from Poland, around 9% ABV, or Chimay, a Belgian Trappist ale, at about 7-9% ABV). They can also be expensive, but you get your money's worth.

brenro12
brenro12

I doubt anyone that drinks that swill can tell.

roknsteve
roknsteve

What happened to the other 65 comments?  I love blond ale but it's hard to find a good one here in Sacramento.   

KravenMoorehead
KravenMoorehead

Garbage Beer By  garbage Company. It was bad enough when it was A-B but Now that Inbev has taken oiver they figure these stupid Americans drink piss water and call it beer they will never be ab;le to tell how much we water it down and we will get rich in the meantime. Thisis just what we came to expect when Inbev was allowed to talke over A-B.  Personally i do not drink near as much beer as I used to and instead drinlk wine becasue I can get the effect I want quicker and not need to drink as much. When it comes to beer I would much rather drink one strong beer than 3-4 Buds and get the same effect (Aside from not having to urinate a lot more when drinking Bud) I am sure that the fact that they have a lousy tasting beer that fills you up way too much and does not even get you a buz unless you drink a lot of it has a lot to do with the fact that people are moving away from bud

jfrogjr
jfrogjr

The claim that the beer is watered down isn't surprising. What is surprising is that, with all the great beer options we have, people drink this stuff at all. You can get the same stuff from a horse for free!

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

One has to wonder if they know that their base clientele are rowdy, angry, white, often drunk and heavily armed?  What, did they think by diluting the beer, these guys would be less belligerent?  Not hardly.  Beer, bullets and Bibles, that's their mantra...  Good luck surviving your impending beer-drinker's apocalypse, A-B.  You brought it on yourself.

eetom
eetom

None can turn stones into breads but many bakers can turn breads into stones.  None can turn water into wine but now we have people who can turn wine into water.

WhiteWookiee
WhiteWookiee

Well, that partially accounts for the taste of their beer, but what percentage of it is pee?

jwilliams8917@gmail.com
jwilliams8917@gmail.com

I'm a Mich Ultra gal, about a month ago, I thought I bought a bad (expired) case, tasted watered down and not alot of carbination. I didn't think much of it and continued to buy it and the more I bought, the more it tasted LIKE WATER! Spending my hard earned money to line their pockets  SUCKS! I want what I pay for! How do I get in on this lawsuit? Please help me help you! It's NOT right! I'm tired of being taken advantageous of being a CUSTOMER!

jaclamb
jaclamb

Well I'll be damned!

Go figure!!!!!!!!!

ThomasKNagano
ThomasKNagano

I have documented video proof. Last season the Los Angeles Dodger were charging $10.25 for a 24 oz Budweiser 3.2 Beer and pouring .6 Liters which is about 20 oz.  

Shorting fans 4 oz a pour, average 40,000 plus attendance over an 81 game season.  YouTube   TK Dodger for visual proof.