There are only three occasions on which I order a Budweiser:

  • I haven’t decided what beer I want when it’s my turn to order and I say, “I’ll start with a Bud,” because I don’t want to stare at the waitress with my mouth hanging open like this is my first rodeo.
  • I haven’t decided if I want to get drunk with that person or group, so I order a Bud in a non-committal fashion that indicates, “I might have a pitcher of this, or I might leave a half drunk one on the table and bail. At the very least, I’ll be going to the bathroom soon to reassess.”
  • I’m at a sporting event, concert, kegger, or involved in a drinking game. Anything that says “it’s about the quantity not the quality.”

Absent those (more specific than you think) circumstances, I don’t drink Budweiser. Eww, gross, who does that? It tastes like nothing, goes through you like bullet, and says “I like TV commercials” to the general public.

But last week, Anheuser-Busch InBev got sued because a plaintiff alleges that the Buds (and other beers brewed by the company) have been purposefully watered down.

And here I thought that disreputable bars watered down their real beer with Bud Lights….

The lawsuit is being led by lawyer Josh Boxer (gavel bang: ABA Journal). From the AP:

The lawsuits are based on information from former employees at the company’s 13 U.S. breweries, some in high-level plant positions, according to lead lawyer Josh Boxer of San Rafael, Calif.

“Our information comes from former employees at Anheuser-Busch, who have informed us that as a matter of corporate practice, all of their products mentioned (in the lawsuit) are watered down,” Boxer said. “It’s a simple cost-saving measure, and it’s very significant.”

The excess water is added just before bottling and cuts the stated alcohol content by 3 percent to 8 percent, he said.

Even if the allegations are true, it’s hard to get worked up about it. It’s like when people claimed that Taco Bell wasn’t made with 100% real beef. If Budweiser’s swill is your thing, then I’m not sure how you’re so outraged by the label.

Of course, Anheuser-Busch InBev is standing behind its products. The company claims that its labels are accurate. To back up its beer, the company launched a bizarre ad campaign in ten newspapers over the weekend.

Now… I’m no Don Draper, but Peggy wouldn’t even come up with that ad on her worst day. That ad says to me, “Drinking Budweiser is like drinking water,” which I think is the opposite of what they’re trying to get across.

And I’m sure every lawyer here went immediately to the fine print. We guarantee that the beer is “the best beer we know how to brew.” “We take our beer and our brewing process seriously.” What happened, did somebody sue Budweiser for not trying hard enough? What’s the ad for next weekend: “We know you wanted other beer choices, but Budweiser was all they had in your price range. Thank you.” Obviously, a direct “Our beer is NOT watered down” was in order, and its absence seems glaring.

In any event, it’s late and I’m thirsty. I think I’ll have an ice-old Budwater before I head out drinking.

Lead lawyer Josh Boxer of San Francisco said the suits are based on information from former employees at some of the company’s 13 U.S. breweries. [Associated Press]


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