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Anheuser-Busch settles US Beck's legal row

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The US arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev has secured a settlement of its legal row regarding the labelling of its Beck's beer brand in the country. The settlement will cost the company US$3.5m in costs for the plaintiffs, as well as partial refunds to consumers, dating back to 2011.

The Becks that is sold in the US is produced in the country, not imported from Germany

The Beck's that is sold in the US is produced in the country, not imported from Germany

Anheuser-Busch, which had spent the past 18 months disputing three plaintiffs' claims against Beck's in a Florida court, has confirmed to just-drinks that it has come to a compromise over the matter. The plaintiffs had alleged that Beck's "has been falsely advertised and marketed by Anheuser-Busch throughout the US" for the last three years.

The brewer had been accused of failing to detail that the brand, which hails from Germany, has been produced in the US for the US market since 2012. The settlement will see Anheuser-Busch include the phrase "Brewed in the USA" or "Product of USA" more prominently on Beck's packaging.

The company will offer a partial refund to all consumers who bought Beck's in the US since May 2011, broken down thus:

  • Six-pack of 12oz bottles or cans: US$0.50 each
  • Four-pack of 16oz cans: $0.50 each
  • Twelve-pack of 12oz bottles or cans: $1 each
  • Fifteen-pack of 12oz bottles or cans: $1.25 each
  • Twenty-pack of 12oz bottles: 1.75 each
  • Individual bottle or can: $0.10 each

The reimbursements are capped at $50 per household with proof of purchase, and at $12 without proof.

When contacted by just-drinks, Jorn Socquet, VP of marketing at Anheuser-Busch, said: "We reached a compromise in the Beck’s labelling case. We believe our labelling, packaging and marketing of Beck’s have always been truthful, transparent and in compliance with all legal requirements.

"A-B … is proud to employ some of the finest American brewmasters to produce Beck’s for the US market."

Today's settlement follows a similar agreement earlier this year between Anheuser-Busch and two plaintiffs, also in Florida, over the origin of Kirin. The Japanese brand, which the US unit produces in the country for Kirin Holdings, is not imported, but is brewed in the US. In late-2013, Anheuser-Busch dismissed both claims as being "frivolous".


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