Anheuser-Busch is ripping off beer drinkers by watering down Budweiser, Michelob, and other brands, according to class-action lawsuits from drinkers across America. Lawyers say the company uses technology designed to accurately measure alcohol content to dilute its beers just before bottling, making the beer 3% to 8% weaker than what it says on the label, Bloomberg reports. Lead lawyer Josh Boxer says the case is based on information from former employees at the company's 13 US breweries, the AP reports.
The watering down is "a simple cost-saving measure and it's very significant," Boxer says. The suits—which the company describes as "groundless"—allege that the diluting began soon after Anheuser-Busch merged with Belgium firm InBev in 2008 to create the world's biggest brewer. "I think it's wrong for huge corporations to lie to their loyal customers," says one plaintiff who bought a six-pack of Bud every week for years. "I really feel cheated. No matter what the product is, people should be able to rely on the information companies put on their labels." The suits involve 10 Anheuser-Busch products: Budweiser, Bud Ice, Bud Light Platinum, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, King Cobra, Busch Ice, Natural Ice, and Bud Light Lime. More bad news for Bud today, as per the AP: Q4 profit dropped 4.9%. (Read more Budweiser stories.)