It’s not shocking that Anheuser-Busch might be watering down beers. The good news is the rich choice of craft alternatives
Allegations are flying around the web, news sites and social media that Anheuser-Busch InBev is watering down Budweiser in the US. Labels stating the strength of Budweiser are inaccurate, the lawsuit states. Anheuser-Busch InBev has denied these accusations, but that does not stop a suit where ex-employees of Anheuser-Busch have come forward to the plaintiff’s attorneys and said that Budweiser is watered down. Personally, I’m not sure anyone can tell what watered down water tastes like but, that aside, I like to deal in facts, not rumor and speculation.
Is Anheuser-Busch watering down Budweiser? I would say the answer is, more than likely, yes. Should that be shocking to you? No, and let me tell you why. I think Anheuser-Busch might add water, to water down Budweiser or any of the other beers named in the lawsuit, at the end of the brewing process to achieve the desired and labelled ABV (alcohol by volume). In brewing, their will always be inconsistencies. Raw ingredients will vary from year to year and field to field no matter how detailed and specific you are in sourcing these ingredients.
Common sense tells me, if I want a consistent 5% ABV beer, then I should brew a beer that is consistently stronger than 5% ABV and add a little water to each batch to achieve the desired and labelled 5% ABV. This is how distilleries achieve their desired ABV – or proof – on a bottle of whiskey or vodka.
Attorney Josh Boxer of San Rafael, California, who represents plaintiff Nina Giampaoli of Sonoma County, is privy to a lot more of the facts than we currently are, but for every winning lawsuit, there is another that is a loss. We have yet to see any proof. Former Anheuser-Busch employees stating that it is corporate practice to water down their beer sounds damning, but lets wait on the facts. How come there was not an attorney saying,
“We have tested cans and bottles of Budweiser, randomly selected from different stores throughout the state of California, and found that, of those cans and bottles tested, a significant percentage of them showed a lower alcohol by volume than as advertised on the product’s label.”
That would put more weight in the plaintiff’s claim. It would make me feel like the lawsuit had teeth.
Should the allegations prove to be true, Anheuser-Busch InBev will lose in court. They will pay monetarily and might be fined by the government but does a company that is buying the remaining portion of Grupo Modelo for $20.1 bn care that they lost a lawsuit for a few million dollars? Anheuser-Busch InBev’s reputation will be tarnished, they will lose a few dollars, stockholders will be upset, but the average beer drinker is still going to buy his or her 6-pack, 12-pack or case of Budweiser at the grocery store on Friday. This same consumer probably cannot tell the difference between 4% ABV Budweiser and 5% ABV Budweiser. I’m not sure even I could.
What I will say to those that continually buy Budweiser, Miller or Coors is that watered-down, flavorless beer is not a new invention. Eighty percent of American beer drinkers drink it as their beer of choice. Put back the case of Budweiser or Bud Light (aka Macro Beer or Big Beer) and buy a craft beer that is made locally. Load Google or Bing or Yahoo in your web browser and search for a local brewery in your town.
On average, everyone in the US lives within 10 miles of a craft brewery so, more than likely, you will find a local brewery within a short drive of your home or place of work. Some of these craft breweries will bottle their beer, others will sell only draft beer but they may sell 64-ounce growlers of fresh, local beer for you to take home. Start out with one of their lighter craft beers, which will be stronger and taste better than macro beer you’re used to. A pale ale, cream ale or kölsch style ale would be a good starting point.
You’ll find a whole new world of beer is out there, and it is called craft beer. We have over 2,000 craft breweries in the US that brew up a wonderful product day in and day out. Buy local, fresh craft beer that is made by breweries who employ local people. It won’t taste like water.