SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Four federal class actions claim that Anheuser-Busch mislabels its beer by exaggerating its alcohol content.
Class actions against the St. Louis- and Belgium-based beer giant were filed this week in San Francisco, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Camden, N.J. federal courts.
Allegations in this article are taken from the complaint in San Francisco.
Lead plaintiff Nina Giampaoli claims Anheuser-Busch violated Missouri and California law by "the unfair practice of deliberately manipulating the brewing process and producing malt beverages knowing that their alcohol content is mislabeled."
Technologically sophisticated Anheuser-Busch is well able to control and identify the alcohol content of its beers to within 0.01 percent accuracy, Giampaoli says. But she claims Anheuser-Busch waters down its beers, whose alcohol contents are less than stated on the labels.
Anheuser-Busch "adds extra water to its finished products to produce malt beverages that consistently have significantly lower alcohol content than the percentage displayed on its labels. By doing so, AB is able to produce a significantly higher number of units of beer from the same starting batch of ingredients," the complaint states.
Giampaoli claims Anheuser-Busch mislabels its Budweiser, Bud Light Platinum, Michelob, and Natural Ice labels, among others.
She seeks class certification and wants Anheuser-Busch enjoined from misrepresenting the alcohol content of its products and from pursuing the policies, acts, and practices related to the misrepresentation.
She is represented by Robert W. Mills, and by Bramson, Plutzik, Mahler & Birkhaeuser.
Anheuser-Busch, a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, is the world's largest beer brewer, with annual global production of more than 10 billion gallons.
Anheuser-Busch is fighting
with the U.S. Justice Department over its proposed acquisition of Grupo Modelo, the Mexican brewery that sells the United States' best-selling import, Corona, and other brands.
The Justice Department challenged the merger on antitrust grounds.