First, the self-proclaimed King of Beers suffered the indignity of being purchased by a Belgian-Brazilain brewing company, InBev, in 2008. It now finds itself the target of a series of lawsuits filed throughout the country alleging that Anheuser-Busch cheated consumers by misrepresenting the alcohol content of its products.
One such suit was filed in New Jersey by plaintiff Brian Wilson. The complaint highlights the sophisticated equipment used by the brewing company that can precisely measure the alcohol content, and claims that the company saves money by watering down the beer during the fermentation process. Because it is alleged that the alcohol content is lower than the amount represented on the bottle labels, the claim is that this practice violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, as well as other statutes.
Frankly, with the incredible variety of specialty craft beers available in the marketplace, Bud drinkers do not strike me as discerning consumers. I think it is also doubtful that Bud buyers made their purchases aware of — and based on — the claimed alcohol content on the label, and that a potential 5% difference would have impacted their decision. But it will be interesting to see how this develops.
If you would like further information, please write to Mike Bono.