A San Rafael attorney is at the center of a rapidly expanding slate of lawsuits across the U.S. alleging that InBev's Anheuser-Busch is watering down its beers, including Budweiser, Michelob, Natural Ice and Bud Light Platinum.
In filing a series of class action lawsuits, including one on behalf of two Sonoma County residents, in federal court late last month, Mills Law Firm attorney Josh Boxer claimed that Anheuser Busch "waters down its products, including the self-proclaimed 'King of Beers,' in order to increase profits while overstating the percentage of alcohol on their products’ labels."
Lawsuits in New Jersey, California and Pennsylvania allege the company overstates the percentage of alcohol on their products’ labels. California attorney Josh Boxer, whose firm is coordinating several of the lawsuits, said there will be about a dozen total suits filed, Patch reported.
The claims are based on statements from former Anheuser-Busch brewery employees, who say extra water was routinely added to beers before bottling, Time magazine reported.
Each class action lawsuit is seeking more than $5 million from Anheuser-Busch. People from Ohio and Colorado are also expected to file similar suits.
"We know Anheuser-Busch takes several readings in each line in each brewery 24 hours a day" and uses the data to water the beer down to, or below, the promised alcohol content in order to increase profits, Boxer said.
Boxer also is working with Philadelphia-based lawyer David Senoff, who is representing brothers Thomas and Gerald Greenberg in claiming that Budweiser doesn't pack the 5 percent punch of alcohol content it promises.
The brothers should know—they say they pound more than a case of Bud a week between the two of them.
Anheuser-Busch said it will fight the suit, calling it "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," Peter Kraemer, vice president of brewing and supply, said in a statement to NBC.
Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch ran an ad mocking the lawsuits in 10 major U.S. newspapers Sunday, Consumerist reported. The ad depicts a can of water the company donates to the American Red Cross for disaster relief, with the headline, “They must have tested one of these.”
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