Diatribe: Watered Down Beers.
When I was a struggling college student a six-pack of cheap beer could be had for as little as two dollars. I think we bought Hamm’s Special Light at a liquor store that was just “off campus” and we certainly got what we paid for. The beer was hardly “full” and when others joined us for a drink they usually brought their own. Most thought the cheap stuff we bought was “weak and watery”. I didn’t care. At the time I figured that bad beer was better than no beer.
This week, beer drinkers in three states filed lawsuits accusing Anheuser-Busch of watering down and mislabeling Budweiser, Michelob and other beer brands to cut costs. The lawsuits, filed in California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, allege that the brewery cheats consumers by listing a higher alcohol content than the beers actually contain.
Ten beers were named in the lawsuits: Budweiser, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, Bud Ice, Bud Light Platinum, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, King Cobra, Busch Ice, Natural Ice and Bud Light Lime.
“Our information comes from former employees at Anheuser-Busch, who have informed us that as a matter of corporate practice, all of their products [mentioned in the lawsuit] are watered down. It’s a simple cost-saving measure, and it’s very significant.” – Josh Boxer, lead Attorney
Water is allegedly added just before bottling and cuts the stated alcohol content by 3% to 8%.
Of course, Anheuser-Busch calls the claims “groundless” and that their beers fully comply with labeling laws.
“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
There are hundreds of different beers available to consumers today at prices ranging from the inexpensive Natural Light or Icehouse to the extravagant Vielle Bon Secours of London that costs more than $700 per bottle.
I find it doubtful that this lawsuit has any merit. Surely, a company as big as Anheuser-Busch has covered all the bases.
My theory, when it comes to beer and wine, has always been “You only taste the first glass, so start with the good stuff!”
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