In the year 1240, Leffe came into being, brewed by Belgian monks at the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Leffe. The French Revolution put an end to the brewing in the 1790s, but the reestablishment of the abbey in 1929 was followed, 23 years later, by its restart, though no longer at the abbey: Consumerist reports the recipe was entrusted to a local brewer, who shared the royalties with the abbey. Now, it's made en masse ... in an Anheuser Busch InBev factory that also churns out Stella Artois. And so in a move that's become somewhat typical of late, an American is suing. Henry Vazquez is, appropriately enough, an optometrist bothered by what he sees on the label: The beer is branded as an "Abbey Ale," and shows an image of the abbey bell tower.
Vazquez's suit states that because the beer is represented as being abbey-brewed, the drink assumes it is "thereby brewed in smaller quantities under the supervision of monks." Not quite: The aforementioned Belgian plant that now makes the beer has an annual capacity of 238 million gallons, and the suit alleges AB InBev has gone to "great lengths to conceal" the beer's mass-produced nature. Vazquez wants compensatory and punitive damages, and wants the company to set the record straight by admitting that neither monks nor an abbey play a role in Leffe's current creation. Reuters points out his proposed class action lawsuit was filed Friday in the same Miami federal court where the company ended up agreeing to pay in excess of $20 million to Beck's drinkers who were drinking beer not made in Germany, but in St. Louis. (This suit alleges Coors Light is not the taste of the Rockies.)