Bourbon whiskey producer Maker’s Mark was recently excoriated by thousands of its customers for announcing plans to reduce the alcohol content of its whiskey.
Michael Krieger summed it up this way:
“In a world where horse meat is increasingly finding its way into ‘all beef’ product, where biotech salmon is soon to hit the streets and where Subway’s foot long sandwiches are less than 12 inches, I’d be willing to bet this is simply just another case of good old fashioned stealth inflation.”
It seems another case of good old fashioned stealth inflation has just surfaced.
Bloomberg reports Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, was sued by consumers in three U.S. states for allegedly overstating the alcohol content in its Budweiser beer.
As Zero Hedge notes, in the case of Marker’s Mark, the outcry was limited to a select group of Bourbon lovers.
“However, when the realization hits that every other alcohol producer may have been engaging in the same less than ethical behavior, including America’s precious Budweiser, we expect the response to be faster and furiouser.”
According to a complaint filed in federal court in Philadelphia, 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.
And 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 Greenbergs said they routinely purchased as many as four cases of Budweiser a month during the past four years, with the contents labeled as having an alcohol content of 5 percent by volume, according to the lawsuit.
The complaints accuse the Anheuser-Busch InBev unit of also mislabeling the amount of alcohol in:
Bud Light Platinum
Bud Light Lime
Hurricane High Gravity Lager
Bloomberg notes AB InBev, the maker of Budweiser and Stella Artois, controls 39 percent of the U.S. beer market.
“The company is seeking government approval to buy the rest of Grupo Modelo SAB, Mexico’s largest beermaker, for $20.1 billion. The Modelo brands account for 7 percent of the U.S. market. AB InBev shipped 98.5 million barrels in the U.S. in 2011, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights.”
The claims against Anheuser-Busch are “completely false,” Peter Kraemer, the company’s vice president of brewing and supply, said.
“Our beers are in full compliance with all alcohol labeling laws,” Kraemer said. “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.”