In lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania, California, and other states, plaintiffs claim that Anheuser-Busch has been watering down its Michelob, Budweiser, and other brand beers, according to NBC News. The lawsuit claim that consumers are being cheated out of alcohol content listed on the product labels.
Josh Boxer, a lawyer from California, said that the lawsuits are based on information supplied by former employees of the company at its 13 breweries in the country. Some of those former employees held high-level positions at the plants.
“Our information comes from former employees at Anheuser-Busch, who have informed us that as a matter of corporate practice, all of their products mentioned (in the lawsuit) are watered down,” Boxer said. “It’s a simple cost-saving measure, and it’s very significant.”
Boxer said that the added water is inserted prior to bottling and cuts the alcohol content by anywhere from three to eight percent.
Anheuser-Busch InBev described the allegations as ‘groundless’ and noted that their beers comply with labeling laws.
“Our beers are in full compliance with all alcohol labeling laws. We proudly adhere to the highest standards in brewing our beers, which have made them the best-selling in the U.S. and the world,” Peter Kraemer, vice president of brewing and supply, said in a statement.
The products named in the lawsuits include the following: Budweiser, Bud Ice, Bud Light Platinum, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, King Cobra, Busch Ice, Natural Ice and Bud Light Lime.
The lawsuit was filed on Friday in federal court in San Francisco for consumers of the lower 48 states. The lawsuit says, “Following the merger, AB vigorously accelerated the deceptive practices described below, sacrificing the quality products once produced by Anheuser-Busch in order to reduce costs.”
There are companion lawsuits being filed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and other states all seeking $5 million in damages. A plaintiff from California, Nina Giampaoli, claims that she purchased a six-pack of Budweiser each week for the past four years.
“I think it’s wrong for huge corporations to lie to their loyal customers — I really feel cheated. No matter what the product is, people should be able to rely on the information companies put on their labels,” Giampaoli said in a news release issued by Boxer’s law firm.
Boxer spoke to the Associated Press during a telephone interview. He said that he has evidence that will corroborate the allegations made by the former employees.
“AB (Anheuser-Busch) never intends for the malt beverage to possess the amount of alcohol that is stated on the label. As a result, AB’s customers are overcharged for watered-down beer and AB is unjustly enriched by the additional volume it can sell,” the lawsuit said.