New testing may spell trouble for class action lawsuits over Budweiser alcohol content. At NPR's request, scientists in San Diego investigated whether Anheuser-Busch InBev's alcohol percentages matched labels—and found that they did. In tests of Budweiser, Bud Light Lime, and Michelob Ultra, "some of them were spot-on. Others deviated, plus or minus, within a hundredth of a percentage," easily complying with federal laws, says a lab specialist. Still, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case says internal company testing will reveal otherwise.
Many brewers add water to beer before packaging it in a process known as high-gravity brewing, NPR notes. "In high-gravity brewing, you can make a lot more beer by stretching the beer that you have fermented," says an expert. "I would assume that all major brewers in the world high-gravity brew. It is not unique to AB." And brewers keep a close eye on alcohol content; most test it after packaging. And as for the impact on Joe Sixpack, says the founder of Beer Advocate, "I don't think it truly matters with most people out there."