Anheuser-Busch Might Owe You $50

Beck's beer drinkers will get up to 10 cents per bottle in settlement
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2015 10:47 AM CDT
Drink 'Imported' Beck's? You Could Get $50
In this June 12, 2008 file photo, crates of Beck's beer are seen on the ground of the InBev brewery in Bremen, northern Germany.   (AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach, File)

If you've enjoyed even one Beck's beer since May 2011, you could be eligible for a refund. Though the Beck’s label clearly says the beer "originated in Bremen, Germany," the small print notes it’s actually made in the USA. The resulting confusion spawned a class-action lawsuit that argued maker Anheuser-Busch was duping US customers into paying a premium for what they thought was an import beer. The company has since settled, and anyone with a receipt could get 10 cents back per bottle, for a maximum of $50, reports the Wall Street Journal. No receipt? You could still get $12—even if you knew the beer was made here at home. Anheuser-Busch will make its "made in the USA" statement more visible, according to the agreement, which was given preliminary approval this week in Miami. If final approval is granted in October, customers will be able to access an online form to snag a refund.

Anheuser-Busch—which must pay $3.5 million in attorneys' fees to four law firms, plus $5,000 to each of three plaintiffs, reports the St. Louis Post Dispatch—followed several other beer makers when it moved production of Beck’s from Germany to St. Louis in 2012. MillerCoors, for instance, moved production of its Foster’s beer from Australia to Fort Worth in 2010. Court documents show Anheuser-Busch's move reduced costs and delivered a fresher beer. But whereas Foster's began importing its yeast from Australia and hired an Australian brewmaster, Beck’s gave up some of its German ingredients in favor of domestic ones, including water and hops, according to the suit. "We've looked at other cases, and don't think they have the same merit we brought here," a lawyer says. "We hope the change we have brought through this settlement leads to better practices throughout the market." (MillerCoors’ Blue Moon faces a similar suit.)

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