Beer & Wine

Miami Judge Awards $20 Million in Beck's Deceptive Label Case

Are you scrounging for beer money? You may be in luck, because a Miami federal judge recently approved a $20 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit that accused Beck's of deceptive labeling. 

In October 2013, Francisco Rene Marty sued Beck's in Miami federal court. He alleged Anheuser-Busch (A-B) was trying to sell what seemed to be a quality brew made in Germany in accordance with the country's beer purity law of 1516, also known as the Reinheitsgebot, But the stuff was made in the United States.

Look at the silver label on the bottleneck — it says "imported." But look at the bottom left part of the main label and it says "Product of USA."

The Beck's beer that Americans have come to know so well was an import until 2012, when A-B decided to begin brewing in St. Louis to "slash costs and increase profit margins," the lawsuit states. But the product just wasn't the same, some customers claim.


"Although Beck's beer is brewed with water, hops, barley, and yeast, the source and type of each of these ingredients is substantially different," the lawsuit states. "For example, Beck's beer is brewed with water from Missouri, as opposed to the Rotenberger Rinne in Germany." 

Disgruntled consumers formed the Facebook group Import Beck's From Germany to vent their frustration. 

Miami has been something of a ground zero for deceptive-label lawsuits against the beer giant. Last December, A-B settled a similar class-action suit for its Kirin brand, and any household in America was eligible to receive up to $50. 

Like the Kirin agreement, the Beck's settlement allows up to $50 per household with proof of purchase of Beck's Dark, Beck's Light, Beck's Pilsner, and Beck's Oktoberfest beers between May 1, 2011, and June 23, 2015. 

You can qualify for a claim without any proof of purchase, but you'll get only $12.  

Want to file a claim? Visit becksbeersettlement.com. The deadline for filing is November 20.

Here's the settlement document: 


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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