Anheuser- Busch today finds itself at the closing end of another class action lawsuit, this time over alleged false advertising with its Beck’s beer product, as reported by the web service Topclassactions.com.
According to specifics of the lawsuit, plaintiffs claim that Anheuser- Busch deliberately misled consumers into thinking Beck’s beer was presently brewed in and imported from Germany. This deceptive advertising, plaintiffs argue, was intentional and designed to make consumers think Beck’s was a premium, German brewed, imported beer. In reality, Beck’s has been brewed in the USA since 2012.
Anheuser- Busch has now agreed to a class action lawsuit settlement that calls for returning money spent on Beck’s beer to consumers. Anyone who is part of the class action lawsuit is entitled to a partial refund of money spent on Beck’s beer. In addition, Anheuser- Busch has agreed to include the words “Brewed un the USA” or “Product of USA” on all packages of Beck’s beer for the next five years, making sure that the words are easily legible.
Plaintiffs claim that the misleading nature of packaging on Beck’s beer include statements such as “Originated in Germany”, “Brewed Under the German Purity Law of 1516”, and made with “German Quality.” In reality, “Product of USA” was on the packaging, but it was deemed by a Florida judge as too small to clearly read.
The terms of the settlement call for refunds to consumers who purchased any style of Beck’s beer, including Beck’s Pilsner, Beck’s Light, Beck’s Dark, and Beck’s Oktoberfest. Refunds range from 10 cents per bottle or can and $1.75 for a 20- pack of bottles. Consumers can receive up to $50 if they have receipts and $12 if they do not. Anheuser- Busch has agreed to pay claims without any defined cap. That means the total settlement dollars could become very costly if enough consumers take action.
Beck’s beer has a brewing tradition in Germany that dates back 225 years. It was only recently that Beck’s production shifted to the United States. But the lawsuit claims that Anheuser- Busch was not forthright in its disclosure of this fact and its failure to level with consumers led many to believe that Beck’s was an imported beer.
Anheuser- Busch faced a similar lawsuit last year over its Kirin brand. Kirin is brewed in California and Virginia, but Anheuser- Busch did not directly disclose this fact, leading to a class action lawsuit claiming that consumers were misled into thinking Kirin was a Japanese import. Terms of the Kirin lawsuit called for Anheuser- Busch to pay up to $50 to each household that purchased Kirin beer.