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April 15, 2013-Three lawsuits filed at the end of February in Federal Court accuse Anheuser Busch of watering down Budweiser and other beers made by the company. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for consumers.

The lawsuits aren’t about taste but about buzz. They claim the “5 percent alcohol by volume” printed on the cans and bottles is misleading because the beers have been watered down. Belgian mega brewer, InBev, now owns Anheuser Busch and apparently InBev is well known for cost cutting. But watering down the beer? Water is a component of beer and it is sometimes used to dilute strong brews at the end of the process. However, fraudulently selling a watered down beer seems counter productive.

In any case, Anheuser Busch InBev denies the charges and in tests conducted at an independent lab at the request of NPR, results showed all the beers complied with alcohol labeling laws. Any deviation was within one hundredth of a percentage, plus or minus, and within federal limits, according to the lab that conducted the tests.

Since some beer drinkers’ taste buds (no pun intended) are being assaulted by tasteless beer, more of them are switching to craft brews which now account for about six percent of the US market. (Anheuser Busch InBev and MillerCoors have about 90 percent of the market between them.)

Craft beers have been growing steadily over the past 20 years, a trend noted by the big guys resulting in craft beers of their own. For example, Blue Moon is made by MillerCoors; Shock Top by Anheuser Busch. Some in the industry regard them as entry craft brews opening the way to further exploration by the consumer. Others grouse that they should have the parent company’s name on the label. Now that would be real transparency.

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