Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), the world’s biggest brewer, was sued by consumers in three U.S. states for allegedly overstating the alcohol content in its Budweiser beer.

AB InBev’s St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch Cos. routinely adds extra water to its finished products to produce malt beverages with significantly less alcohol content than displayed on its labels, violating state statutes on consumer protection, according to a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Philadelphia. Similar lawsuits were filed in federal courts in New Jersey and San Francisco.

AB’s customers are overcharged for watered-down beer and AB is unjustly enriched by the additional volume it can sell,” Thomas and Gerald Greenberg said in the Philadelphia complaint…

The complaints accuse the AB InBev unit of also mislabeling the amount of alcohol in Bud Ice, Bud Light Platinum, Michelob, King Cobra, Busch Ice, Black Crown, Bud Light Lime, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, Natural Ice and Michelob Ultra.

Josh Boxer, an attorney for plaintiffs in California, said additional lawsuits will be filed against the company in Ohio and Colorado. The California complaint, filed by Sonoma County residents Nina Giampaoli and John Elbert, seek to represent consumers in the state and consumers nationwide who have purchased AB InBev products in the past five years. All three complaints seek damages exceeding $5 million.

Total damages “could be quite significant based on the volume of products that AB produces a year,” Boxer said…

You betcha!

There is nothing more classic about capitalism than some scumbag “watering the beer” to increase profits. Should be an interesting case to follow.



  1. orchidcup says:

    I saw this news story yesterday and I wondered if it would appear on DU.

    Making fraudulent claims and misrepresenting facts about products is a common practice for corporations.

    It is called “Advertising.”

  2. MikeN says:

    Once Big Tobacco has been defeated, the trial lawyers will obviously head to Big Alcohol. Prohibition may have been repealed, but the companies will be sued for the adverse health effects, and alcohol consumption will be treated as evil like smoking, with the act banned from movies.

    The trial lawyers took a detour towards attacking gun manufacturers, before realizing those guys have no money.

    I’ve also seen articles about the dangers of second-hand caffeine.

    • orchidcup says:

      The trial lawyers took a detour towards attacking gun manufacturers, before realizing those guys have no money.

      Gun manufacturers have no money.

      That was a good one.

    • Dallas says:

      I’m not entirely sure you know what this lawsuit is about.

  3. dusanmal says:

    From unfortunate repeated experiences with inflation gone wild (in particular inflation gone wild after Keynesian economics were applied in practice and debt reached 80+% of GDP in the country of my origin):
    10-12% yearly inflation causes consistent shrinking of packaging in various products (narrower toilet paper rolls, smaller volume of juice bottle,…). At the same old price…
    12-15% yearly inflation causes frequent product dilution or downgrades (less alc. in beer, less orange in the juice, toilet paper with greater recycled content,…)
    15-20% yearly inflation causes progressive shortages of various items in sometimes irrational manner (country of my origin was net exporter of items like salt and cooking oil – their shortages were the earliest and most drastic, followed by totally imported goods like coffee…)
    Where there is smoke – there is fire. One can observe shrinking packaging easily during last couple of years. Even accusation of diluting beer signifies that we are stepping into the (real, not manipulated) inflation rates above 12% (and this was not the first diluting story in 2013…).

    • The Monster's Lawyer says:

      I experience this with Dial soap bars about 2 years ago. I estimate about 10% shrinkage. I don’t have the numbers because by the time i realized it I couldn’t find an old Dial soap wrapper to compare to.

      • spsffan says:

        And the 1 pound can of coffee went to 13 oz. then less, and is down to what? 10.5 oz these days?

        “Premium” gasoline down from 93 to 91 octane.

        “6 = 10″ rolls of paper towels which have the same square footage as 6 = 6 did a few years ago.

        Just a few recently noticed examples that piss me off. (except the gasoline. I don’t buy premium since my car doesn’t need it)

        All of that with minimal < 5% inflation over the last decade or two.

        • The Monster's Lawyer says:

          It’s greed. Pure and simple. Increase the bottom line without actually selling more but selling less.
          It’s about time for upstarts to start upstarting and going after the soft underbelly of bigger corps. by giving the customer more for their money not less.

  4. tcc3 says:

    How can anyone tell?

    Heh heh

  5. bobbo, with the panache of Steve Zissou says:

    Yeah–like 2×4 wood studs have now shrunk to 1.5 x 3.5 or One Gigabyte of Storage is several MB less==welcome to less alcohol, or your download speed is 8MB and uncapped.

    I bought an Oranjabom (sp?) in a Paris street Market just for something to drink. Tasted a bit off but it was beer, cold, and a new taste which is what I wanted in a new city. 12% Alcohol put me right on my butt.

    Love that French Beer.—although I think it is Belgium.

    • deegee says:

      like 2×4 wood studs have now shrunk

      Wood stud measurements are based on the wet cut. Shrinkage occurs during drying.

    • Fabby says:

      Oranjeboom beer is Dutch… :)
      Next time over in EU, try “Duvel” (“devil” in Flemish)… Not an ABI beer, so much more “honest”… Alcohol content is not *that* high, but it will put any American on his/her butt anyway! >:)

      • natefrogg says:

        lol you do realize duvel and many other fine brews are quite readily available in the united states right?

        there are plenty of great true strong brews here, stone, alesmith, telegraph are a few great examples, there are thousands more.

        not all americans eat mc’d and drink budweiser, there are quite a few of us willing to pay a bit more for quality over quantity.

  6. B. Dog says:

    At the Goodwill Games in Seattle back in the early 90′s I saw a bunch of Russians for the first time. Their white dress shirts were so thin it was weird. I guess the factory could say they made a bunch of shirts and met their quota, but geez they were cheap looking.

  7. orchidcup says:

    I don’t know what everyone is complaining about.

    Corporations fill bottles with nothing but water and sell it for the same price.

    Some bottled waters are actually more expensive than beer.

  8. sho off says:

    Switch to Miller Lite. Drink a few more, no beer gut, no hangover…..Lot’s of problems.

    • The Monster's Lawyer says:

      Q: Why is drinking Miller Lite like making love in a canoe?

      A: They’re both f*cking close to water.

  9. SchwettyBalls says:

    I thought that was the recipe from the beginning.

  10. Bob says:

    What a waste of courtroom time. More reason why we need a loser pays system of some type in this country

    I mean, its Budwiser, its always been watered down, clear stuff. You don’t buy the cheap beer and expect to get Bavarian quality.

  11. deowll says:

    Buy a different beer. Geez even a kindergarten kid knows if you don’t like something don’t drink it.

  12. Somebody says:

    This is a tricky area in the law. For example, you can have cellulose in your Parmesian cheese and yet label it 100%.

  13. SteveD13 says:

    AB InBev, a Belgian-Brazilian company owns 200 brands including:
    Corona, Beck’s , Stella Artois, Budweiser, Brahma, Leffe, Hoegaarden, Spaten, Franziskaner, Hasseröder, Löwenbräu, Quilmes, Labatt, Alexander Keith’s, Bass, Busch, Rolling Rock, Jupiler, Harbin Brewery, Goose Island, Leffe, Hoegaarden, Hertog Jan, Michelob, Natural Ice, Kokanee, Presidente, Modelo, BagBier, Кlinskoe, Sibirskaya Korona, Tolstyak, Premier, Rifyey, and O’Doul’s

    SAB Miller, A South African Company headquartered in London, owns 150 brands:
    Some of them are: Miller, Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, Olde English 800, Milwaukee’s Best, Miller Chill, Hamm’s Leinenkugel, Icehouse, Mickey’s malt, Milwaukee’s Best, Henry Weinhard, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni, Nastro Azzurro, Grolsch, Aguila, Castle,Snow, Tyskie, N’gola, 2M, Castle Lager, Castle Milk Stout, Eagle, Kilimanjaro, Haywards 5000, Royal Challenge, Knock out, Indus Pride, Carlton Draught, Foster’s Lager, Melbourne Bitter, Pure Blonde, Victoria Bitter.

    Rolling Rock is not the same since they stopped making it in Latrobe and moved it to St. Louis. This I will not forgive. I am going to buy American and hit my local brew pub tonight.

  14. Say Kai Lee says:

    All American beer is watered down, whats so special about this?

    • pedro says:

      Exactly. Corona is also still wash.

    • natefrogg says:

      ignorant statement

      try any stone ale for instance and then report back, there are thousands more like them in the states, you rarely here about the good beer being made here unfortunately but it does exist and is quite plentiful

  15. M0les says:

    Watering-down Budweiser, eh?… How would you know? (It’s already “like sex in a canoe”)

  16. bobbo, with the panache of Steve Zissou says:

    ok–I’ll say it: its not about being watered down weak tasteless crap==the LABEL says its 5% alcohol but has been tasted as consistently 3-8% percent less.

    I drink to get drunk. I choose beer to do this and choose the beer based on taste. After years of taste testing, I can’t identify what it is about beer I like. My favorite is consistently a mix of 50/50 thick dark stout with a hoppy lager.

    Across a full range of satisfaction, I find mixing to create the best product. Always amusing at a wine tasting to see the shock/horror of people when I mix the sangeovase with the pinot. Those who will, find almost any mixture better than either constituent.

    Try it…. you might like it.

  17. Grandpa says:

    Who cares. Miller is better.

    • bobbo, with the panache of Steve Zissou says:

      Sounds like we should take a poll.

      I drink mostly Heineken in glass, then Rolling Rock or Tecate in cans. My local brew pub half a mile away closed down. I don’t know why as they were always crowded and had good food. Next brew pub is five miles away–too far to walk home.

      It was so perfect. I was a “Club Member” entitling me to a first Free Stein of beer of my choice with every visit. I never had just one. Would store my bike in the car and if I had more than 3 beers, I would bike home. Sweet as it was downhill all the way, didn’t even have to peddle. …………. they never caught me either.

      • I'm ugly and my mother dresses me funny says:

        The penalty for riding a bike while drunk is the same as driving drunk. Might as well enjoy some air conditioning / heat. Less chance of being killed by a drunk driver, too.

        I visited the rolling rock brewery back in the ninety’s for a tour. Turns out they didn’t offer tours, although they said while we were there we could fill out job applications.

        There was a pub nearby full of rolling rock employees having lunch/beer. (Apparently not a problem if you work for a brewery.) They were not drinking rolling rock. Neither did we.

        Although I have to admit, RR is ok.

        My favorite beer is Warsteiner.

  18. Somebody_Else says:

    Seems like it would be pretty easy to test, wouldn’t it?

    Doesn’t really matter to me. Our state motto here in Oklahoma is “don’t come here, we have low-point beer.”

  19. Kent says:

    When I was younger people here in Canada used to refer to US beer as “piss water”.

  20. CrankyGeeksFan says:

    Maybe, that’s how the LA (low alcohol) beer was made in the 1980s.