Budweiser beerAnheuser-Busch waters down its beers “well below” their advertised 5% volume in order to boost profits, according to four class action lawsuits filed this week. The allegedly watered-down beer is not only frustrating for consumers who are getting less alcohol per serving, but also constitutes false labeling, the complaints say.

The four potential class action lawsuits were filed in San Francisco, Cleveland, Philadelphia and New Jersey. The allegedly mislabeled beer includes Budweiser, Bud Light Platinum, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, Natural Ice, and others.

San Francisco plaintiffs Nina Giampaoli and John Elbert allege in their class action lawsuit that Anheuser-Busch violated California’s consumer protection laws and Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act by “deliberately manipulating the brewing process and producing malt beverages knowing that their alcohol content is mislabeled.”

They say Anheuser-Busch has the technology to precisely control the amount of alcohol in its beers but adds water so that the alcohol content is “significantly” below the advertised figure of 5% by volume.

“Because water is cheaper than alcohol, AB adds extra water to its finished products to produce malt beverages that consistently have lower alcohol content than the percentage displayed on its labels,” the class action lawsuit says. “By doing so, AB is able to produce a significantly higher number of units of beer from the same starting batch of ingredients.”

“AB never intends for the malt beverage to possess the amount of alcohol that is stated on the label. As a result, AB’s customers are overcharged for watered-down beer and AB is unjustly enriched by the additional volume it can sell,” according to the class action lawsuit.

Giampaoli and Elbert are seeking over $5 million in damages and are asking the court to require the beer maker to fund a corrective advertising campaign.

UPDATE: This case was consolidated into multidistrict litigation in June 2013. A year later on June 2, 2014, the federal judge overseeing the Anheuser-Busch MDL dismissed the case, ruling the company is within the federally acceptable range of 0.3 percent wiggle room allowed for malt beverages containing 0.5 alcohol or more.


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Please note: Top Class Actions is not a settlement administrator or law firm. Top Class Actions is a legal news source that reports on class action lawsuits, class action settlements, drug injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits. Top Class Actions does not process claims and we cannot advise you on the status of any class action settlement claim. You must contact the settlement administrator or your attorney for any updates regarding your claim status, claim form or questions about when payments are expected to be mailed out.



  • Beth February 27, 2013

    No surprise there.

  • Slopchoppy February 28, 2013

    No wonder a 12 pack was required to get a buzz.
    The weight I gained and the dui’s …can I sue for that ?

  • mama March 5, 2013

    Geeze Louise! You can’t blame them for eveything. If you were’nt drunk you’d realize your statement doesn’t make sense. IF it were so watered down how could you blame AB for getting D.U.I.s?
    Still shame on these big companies that take advantage!

  • james bolasky March 5, 2013

    been drinking a case a week all my life.will we get any free beer? jim

  • dicky March 5, 2013

    I have work Golding eagle of arkansas ,Anheuser Busch in Little Rock Arkansas for 16yrs.

  • Slopchoppy March 5, 2013

    Mama, Cause it takes so many to get a buzz. All those calories = weight gain. If you can sue Big Tobacco for smoking ….. fyi-sober over 7yrs.

  • buster hyman March 5, 2013

    I always thought they would get sued for animal cruelty for making horses piss into beer bottles.

  • Richard King March 5, 2013

    i by two three case a week bud

  • SANDRA March 5, 2013

    Bud’s the only beer I buy – and I do that at least 3 times a week, and lots of them on the weekend…. was wondering why it took more to get where I was trying to be…. don’t even make me burp as often as I should.

  • Sylvia March 5, 2013

    I buy a case for special occasions

  • Sylvia March 5, 2013

    1 case a month

  • Michael March 5, 2013

    That should be easy to fix,use less water and jack up the cost.I hope they start selling alcohol on Sunday.

  • Patrick March 5, 2013

    A case a week for me. I noticed “something” ,didn’t seem right . Almost changed beers….

  • Nate March 5, 2013

    Could tell the taste was different.

  • Carol March 5, 2013

    Been purchasing Bud for over 25 years and go thru 1-2 cases per week. I thought something was different. I will take the settlement money and I will take the free beer!!

  • Pam March 6, 2013

    we only consume Bud in our household all year long “365” and it is not the same!!! We are saddend to hear about this latest decepception. as comsumers we are di8smayed that we have been misled. We dependend on the bewing masters that you are to provide the finest brew possiable. Maybe COORS has not comprimised their standards and we should shop for a new brew this lifetime!!!!!

  • Gerald March 6, 2013

    After one case I realized there was something missing

  • Gerald March 6, 2013

    After one case I realized something was definetly missiing

  • ShariEge March 6, 2013

    We have a kegerator and easily go through a keg about every 3 weeks on top of the cases upon cases that we buy. Hopefully this gets corrected

  • FRANK HULBERT JR March 7, 2013

    I drink a case a week, How do I join this lawsuit?

  • don March 9, 2013

    i drink at least a case a week and pay for the taste and quality of what is apperantly not the king of beers anymore. you inbev bastards have been caught red-handed now pay up shut up and fix the problem i.e. quit watering down what was the best beer in the world. very sad times for us bud lovers.

  • Clifton March 17, 2013

    I have drank Bud since 1950 until a few months ago when I thought the beer tasted more like “lite” beer.
    I changed to Yuengling Lager which is now, I think, better than Bud.
    I had no idea what was different, just thought my taste buds were degrading!
    Thanks for the input!

  • rufus brown March 28, 2013

    I thought something was wrong.

  • andrew June 18, 2013


  • Mikie S. June 18, 2013

    Who really wins? Not the consumers. The companies and the lawyers win. With the companies getting off real cheap and the attorneys getting paid millions.

    We as the consumer get a few bucks in our pocket. The law needs to be changed so the people who are wronged get a fare share.

  • #26 Ashe July 10, 2013

    On a personal note, I have been consuming Anheuser-Busch Products for more than 25 years. It is very disconcerting to read that they have not been playing by the rules and are willing to jeopardize their impeccable reputation and standards for greed, in addition to losing some of their loyal customers. What forms are we required to submit to TCA to re-coup some of our monetary losses?

  • Top Class Actions June 6, 2014

    UPDATE: This case was consolidated into multidistrict litigation in June 2013. A year later on June 2, 2014, the federal judge overseeing the Anheuser-Busch MDL dismissed the case, ruling the company is within the federally acceptable range of 0.3 percent wiggle room allowed for malt beverages containing 0.5 alcohol or more.

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