Beer-Lovers Accuse Anheuser-Busch of Watery Brews

A multi-state lawsuit has been filed accusing Anheuser-Busch of watery beer.

ByABC News
February 27, 2013, 11:31 AM

Feb. 27, 2013— -- A pack of lawsuit are brewing around the country after angry beer-lovers accused the maker of "The King of Beers" of watering down its beverages.

Beer fans in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California and other states have filed suits against Anheuser-Busch InBev accusing the company of printing the incorrect alcohol content on its labels.

In a class action suit filed in a San Francisco court on Friday, the beer company is accused of intentionally "overstating the alcoholic content of its products" to increase profits.

"At the heart of any alcoholic beverage process is 'fermentation.' This process involves yeast converting certain carbohydrates into ethanol (intoxicating alcohol to humans), and CO2 (carbon dioxide for carbonation.) It is the expensive and time-consuming fermentation process that creates the alcohol content in the beverage, and it is this by-product, ethanol, which creates demand for alcoholic malt beverage. Hence, the economic incentive to 'water down' malt beverages," the suit claims.

Information on the can states that Budweiser and Michelob are composed of 5 percent alcohol, while the lighter versions come in around 4 percent.

"A consumer should be able to go in a store buy a can of beer of whatever brand they like and if it says on the label it's 6 percent should be 6 percent," said the plaintiff's attorney Robert Mills.

Other lawsuits have been filed this week across the country, seeking over $5 million in damages.

Behind the suit are former workers accusing the company of lowering the alcohol content during the final brewing stages by adding water.

The products included are Budweiser, Bud Ice, Bud Light Platinum, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, King Cobra, Busch Ice, Natural Ice, Black Crown and Bud Light Lime.

In a statement to ABC News, Peter Kraemer, Anheuser-Busch InBev vice president of brewing and supply calls the claims "false" and the lawsuits "groundless."

"Our beers are in full compliance with all the alcohol labeling laws," said Kraemer, "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."

One lawyer for the plaintiffs has reportedly admitted his clients did not independently test the alcohol content in the beers before filing the lawsuit.

Budweiser beer is brewed in 12 locations nationwide. In 1867, founder Adolphus Busch began brewing a Bohemian beer that would later become Budweiser.

"Ultimately forensic testing is going to determine the alcohol content and that is what will decide the case," said legal analyst Dana Cole.