Food & Beverage

Beck’s Beer drinkers feel bamboozled, win refund

Beck's Beer
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Beck's Beer may have "originated in Bremen, Germany" back in 1873 but the beer supplied here in the U.S. has been brewed in St. Louis since 2012.

That left some beer drinkers feeling bamboozled—so they filed a lawsuit.

Now Anheuser-Busch InBev has agreed to settle the class action case and is offering refunds.

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The suit, filed in U.S. district court in Miami in 2013, alleged the brewing giant "committed unfair and deceptive practices" by marketing and selling beer "in a way that misleads consumers into believing that Beck's Beer is German, still imported from Germany."

In a preliminary settlement, which is set for a final approval hearing in October, Anheuser-Busch is agreeing to provide refunds to any consumer who purchased Beck's in the United States since May 2011. Refunds would be distributed on the following basis:

a. $0.10 for each Individual bottle or can
b. $.50 for each six pack of 12 oz. bottles or cans
c. $.50 for each four pack of 16 oz. cans
d. $1.00 for each Twelve pack of 12 oz. bottles or cans
e. $1.25 for each fifteen pack of 12 oz. bottles or cans
f. $1.75 for each twenty pack of 12 oz. bottles

Claims will be limited to $50 for those who can provide valid receipts and $12 to those without proof of purchase.

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As an additional part of the settlement Anheuser-Busch agrees to make the phrase "Brewed in USA" or "Product of the USA" more visible on each bottle.

"We reached a compromise in the Beck's labeling case. We believe our labeling, packaging and marketing of Beck's have always been truthful, transparent and in compliance with all legal requirements. A-B brews Beck's to the highest-quality standards, and is proud to employ the finest American brewmasters to produce Beck's for the U.S. market," said Jorn Socquet, Vice President, Marketing at Anheuser-Busch, in a statement.

This isn't the first time Anheuser-Busch has faces charges over deceptive packages regarding one of its import brands. The brewer settled a similar claim in January regarding its Japanese brand Kirin, which is brewed by Anheuser-Busch in Los Angeles and Williamsburg, Virginia.

Anheuser-Busch isn't alone in brewing "imported" brands here in the U.S. in order to save costs. MillerCoors brews the Australian brand Fosters in Fort Worth, Texas and the Jamaican brand Red Strip Lager, owned by Diageo, is brewer in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Beer drinkers looking for an import brand brewed on its home soil need to look no further than the top selling imports. Corona, owned by Constellation Brands and the top-selling imported beer in the United States, is brewed in Mexico. Heineken, the second best-selling import in the Unites States, is brewed in the Netherlands.