Beer lovers across the country have filed $5 million class-action lawsuits accusing Anheuser-Busch of watering down its Budweiser, Michelob and other brands.
The suits were filed in Pennsylvania, California and other states on behalf of consumers allegedly cheated out of the beverage's stated alcohol content. Budweiser and Michelob each boast being 5 percent alcohol, while some "light" versions are said to be just over 4 percent.
Lead lawyer Josh Boxer of San Rafael, Calif., said Tuesday the suits are based on information from former employees at some of the company's 13 U.S. breweries. Boxer said water is added just before bottling, and cuts the stated alcohol content by 3 to 8 percent.
The multinational Anheuser-Busch InBev calls the claims groundless, and says its beers fully comply with labeling laws.
Deven Perschke, owner of Weber Street Liquor in Colorado Springs, said he is disappointed because Budweiser is a big brand for his store.
“It could potentially hurt their sales and reputation,” said Perschke.
He said the Bud Light Platinum, which is included in the lawsuit, has been a good seller in his store.
“It’s made up for the market share loss Budweiser has been losing because of craft beers,” said Perschke.
The brew came out during the 2012 Superbowl and states it has an alcohol content of 6 percent. If the allegations are true, Perschke said its false advertising to customers.
“It’s one more reason to be suspect of corporate America. You see so many stories now a days of Corporate America not living up to what they’ve been advertising, whether its ingredients or alcohol levels,” he said.
However, there are those loyal Budweiser drinkers who believe flavor trumps all.
“Budweiser is known for being a lager, a light-style beer. I think people will stick to their brand,” said Phil Duhon, owner of Oscar’s Tejon Street.
Duhon doesn’t anticipate his patrons changing their mind on their beverage of choice.
“They’re probably going to drink what they drink anyway,” he said.