Anheuser-Busch InBev has responded to the class action lawsuits accusing it of selling watered-down Budweiser. Knowing the importance of brand image, the above ad was published in 10 major U.S. newspapers on Sunday, March 4th and features a can of water that A-B donates to the American Red Cross for disaster relief. See the full ad here.
The lawsuits in question were filed in Pennsylvania, California and other states, and claim that the labels of Budweiser, Michelob and other beers overstate the alcohol content actually in the beer. According to the lead lawyer, Josh Boxer, the lawsuits are based on information from former employees at the company’s 13 U.S. breweries. Boxer asserts that excess water is added just before bottling that cuts the stated alcohol content by 3 percent to 8 percent.
On February 27th, A-B issued the following statement on the lawsuit:
The claims against Anheuser-Busch are completely false, and these lawsuits are groundless. 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.
This will be an interesting case to watch, especially because it appears, at first blush, that the case will boil down to the basic factual question of the A-B’s bottling practices and the specific alcohol content of the beer in question.