Cocktails & Spirits

Anheuser-Busch Sued For Deceptive Beck's Label

Anheuser-Busch contiinues to face criticism over what consumers say are deceptive import labels on beer packaging, this time in relation to Beck's beer.

Just last month, Anheuser-Busch settled with Miami consumers Gustavo E. Oliva and Lady J. Suarez, who claimed they were misled into thinking Kirin beer was imported from Japan. They believed they paid more for the brew than they should have.

See also: Anheuser-Busch's Kirin Settlement in Miami Gives Households Price of a Six-Pack

Miami-Dade resident Francisco Rene Marty is alleging A-B tried to make him think Beck's is brewed and imported from Germany. He filed a lawsuit in October 2013.

Beck's was brewed only in Germany for years. But somewhere along the way, the beer sold in the U.S. came to be brewed in the same country. Beck's parent company InBev acquired Anheuser-Busch and became AB-InBev in 2008.

The Beck's label says "Product of the USA". But another part of the label adds that the beer is "brewed under the German Purity Law of 1516," according to court documents. The law is sometimes referred to as the Reinheitsgebot.

Like Oliva and Suarez, Marty thinks he paid too much for the beer because he believed that it was a true import. He is seeking damages.

Thomas A. Tucker Ronzetti, one of the attorneys who represents plaintiffs in both cases, declined to speak to Short Order about his clients or discuss details, alluding to settlement agreements in the Kirin case.

Attorney Ross Appel has written about beer label requirements in the past. He works for Komlossy Law P.A., a Hollywood-based law firm that handles legal issues for craft brewers in Florida. Appel thinks consumers might not have been so willing to pay the extra price for a beer if they knew it wasn't imported.

"People may have bought the product in part because they think it is an authentic product brewed overseas," Appel says. "They might not have made the purchase if they knew that was essentially a lie."

Marty is not the only one feeling duped by Beck's. There's even a Facebook group called Import Beck's from Germany where people can go and vent their frustrations over the beer's labeling.

Here's the full lawsuit:

Marty v. Anheuser-Busch

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David Minsky is a U.S. Navy veteran and Tulane graduate who has experience reporting on stories from California, South Florida, and the Deep South. He has also won some journalism awards. Email or tweet David with story tips and ideas.
Contact: David Minsky