Beer Titans Go to War Over 'Corn Syrup' Ad

MillerCoors lawsuit claims Bud Light ad purposefully misleads consumers
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2019 6:01 AM CDT

Medieval kings have sparked a legal battle between beer titans. MillerCoors is suing Anheuser-Busch over a "misleading," minute-long Super Bowl ad emphasizing the use of corn syrup in making both Coors Light and Miller Lite. The ad shows Bud Light's "king" visiting his fellow monarchs at Miller Lite and Coors Light castles, attempting to find the owner of corn syrup mistakenly delivered to him. Coors Light's king finally says, "Looks like the corn syrup has come home to be brewed. To be clear, we brew Coors Light with corn syrup." The ad is actually far from clear, suggesting corn syrup is a beer ingredient, and perhaps the only one, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in a Wisconsin federal court, per the New York Times. MillerCoors says yeast breaks down corn syrup in the fermentation process so none remains in beer sold.

Yet Anheuser-Busch hoped to deceive consumers because focus groups show they equate corn syrup with high-fructose corn syrup, which is linked to obesity, according to the suit, which also alleges misuse of trademarks, per CNBC. MillerCoors is seeking an injunction to stop the airing of the ad and a trial by jury. "Anheuser-Busch is fearmongering over a common beer ingredient that's used, by the way, in many of its own beers as a fermentation aid," says MillerCoors' VP of communications, per the Times. His counterpart at Anheuser-Busch, which reportedly uses corn syrup in Stella Artois Cidre and Busch Light, only stresses that Miller Lite and Coors Light are brewed with corn syrup, while Bud Light is brewed with rice. "We stand behind the Bud Light transparency campaign and have no plans to change the advertising," she says. (More beer stories.)

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