Beer drinkers filed a $5m lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch, accusing it of watering down Budweiser. Meanwhile, Makers Mark abandoned back plans to water down its signature tipple.

83 Responses to “Watered-down booze bamboozles drinkers”

  1. If you care about this, why are you drinking Bud?

  2. eldritch says:

    I love it. The entire basis for the lawsuit is hearsay from former employees.

    So somehow Anheuser-Busch is supposedly able to ship out literally BILLIONS of beers and magically manage to get them all past countless instances of government inspections and quality control in nations all around the world, AND with all these beers floating around, no one has thought to test them independantly to prove an inaccurate labeling of alcohol content.

    No, clearly it’s a massive conspiracy coverup! Thank goodness Joe Schmoe, the guy who used to run the fourth hops sorting machine on the left at [Brewery Name Here], blew the whistle on this when he got laid off shortly after the corporate merger!

  3. Roose_Bolton says:

    If you’re drinking Budweiser, you aren’t a beer drinker.

  4. Budweiser is what you call watered down beer isn’t it? It certainly tastes like it.

  5. Ben Oliver says:

    I’m glad they didn’t mess with Maker’s – here in the UK it’s the only decent Bourbon you can get in almost every bar.

  6. Michael Rosefield says:

    How did they tell the Budweiser was watered-down? Did it taste stronger?

  7. anonotwit says:

    Why do I have the feeling that Anheuser-Busch InBev’s lawyers should just send the plaintiff a link to Snopes?

    I had read a few years ago, though, that at least one of the industrial brewers brewed their product with a much higher original gravity (and hence alcohol content) than needed at a central facility, then diluted it with water to reach the desired product specifications at regional canning or bottling plants. I may have misremembered or misinterpreted this, but I wonder if the plaintiffs haven’t done the same thing.

    I find it very unlikely, though, that they’re watering down their product to levels below the values states on the labels. Hard for me to say, since I haven’t had a Bud in at least ten years and haven’t been able to drink any beer in the last year (because of the gluten).

    • Patrick Hirlehey says:

       It is an actual process called “High Gravity” brewing, where something is brewed at 8% and then split with water before bottling. This saves money in reducing the amount of fermenters (or increases money by doubling the amount of available fermenters) I have a feeling that this is the case, and thus the heresay from ex brewers. Although it obviously is a compromise of sorts.

      • smut clyde says:

         One of the New Zealand brewing duopoly (DB) uses a version of this process as a continuous production stream. Water, malt extract and sugar go in the feed hopper; an 8%-alcohol malt product comes out the tap.
        The advantage goes further than “reducing the amount of fermenters”. By diluting the end product down to different degrees, and adding different amounts of hop extract and caramel, they can bottle their entire product range from a single fermentation stream.

  8. welcomeabored says:

    It’s piss beer.  Goes in one color, comes out the same color.

  9. Christopher says:

    Reading Travels With Barley by Ken Wells I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that there are home brewers who illicitly acquired some of Anheuser-Busch’s proprietary yeast so they could brew their own Budweiser at home.

    What was shocking to me is I can’t understand why someone who’s going to all the trouble to make their own beer at home isn’t focused on making something worth drinking. 

    • anonotwit says:

      In part to impress their friends, in part because of the challenge and in part because their parents dropped them on their heads as babies.

    • Jim Nelson says:

      An American light lager is actually a difficult thing to brew. Getting it repeatable is also difficult, and if you’ve never had Budweiser that’s fresh, and not at the end of the industrial cloaca that is most beer distributors, you’d not understand how good it can be.

      It’ll never be a top-notch beer, but if all you’re used to is swilling it from cans, you’ve had a limited experience of what they turn out. I don’t care for lagers overmuch myself, but respect the amount of work it takes to do it properly.

      • Christopher says:

        I should have added that, in the book, the home-brewed Budweiser is described as having a distinct green-apple tartness that, although I’m not generally a fan of lagers, did sound pretty good, especially on a hot day. And I certainly appreciate brewers taking it on as a challenge.

        • C W says:

          “in the book, the home-brewed Budweiser is described as having a distinct green-apple tartness”

          Likely because they used a temperature too high for that yeast.

      • bill_mcgonigle says:

        According to a documentary I watched, Budweiser isn’t really an American light lager.  The grain is fermented for a short period of time (along some flavor/time response curve), and then that’s mixed with water and grain alcohol to produce the beverage.   Those who do brew a real lager are going to more effort.

      • Navin_Johnson says:

        As a fan of lagers/pilseners I would say that there are numerous fantastic, and robust ones available, and I can’t imagine them being compared to Bud no matter how fresh it is. For a lager/pis fan it’s often tough at the store though, considering that people are obsessed with hoppy ales.

        I guess “American light lager” is kind of a narrow sub-style. I would introduce a Bud drinker to a number of great “Pils” and lagers. Hell you could introduce them to any number of macros that are better than Bud, which is pretty much most of them..

  10. oasisob1 says:

    Officially: I am drinking Shiner Wild Hare and Bacardi Dark. Fuck shitty beer.

  11. peregrinus says:

    Go home plaintiff.  You’re drunk.

  12. kmoser says:

    I hear they also add electrolytes. It’s what plants crave.

  13. donovan acree says:

    American beer is like making love in a canoe.

    • kobrakai says:

       That has to be the single most ignorant statement I’ve seen on the internet today. And that’s saying a lot.

    • Wisconsin Platt says:

      It’s fucking close to water.  

    • IronEdithKidd says:

      We keep the good stuff for ourselves.  None for you.

      • GawainLavers says:

        Seriously: I’m pretty sure only Europeans drink Budweiser.

        • IronEdithKidd says:

          Yeah.  I didn’t want to insult the poor fool too much.  His statement could easily be extended to imply that Australians actually drink Fosters.  As if.

          [edit] Since others are putting in plugs for some of their favorties, I’m just gonna give a nice shout out to Wolverine State, New Glarus, Bell’s and Right Brain.

          • Navin_Johnson says:

             ”New Glarus, Bell’s”

            +1

          • IronEdithKidd says:

            Sorry, I don’t think you can get the other two in Chicago yet.  Come to Summer Beer Fest, all of Michigan’s best Brewer’s Guild breweries will be there.  

        • TheMudshark says:

          In my 30+ years of being European I haven´t met a single person that does, unless of course you´re talking about the Czech kind.

          • GawainLavers says:

            Then I suppose we’ve never been to the same countries.

          • Navin_Johnson says:

             Strictly anecdotal but I’ve seen a number of Europeans come into the bar and order Bud. I think it’s kind of a touristy “Americana” thing though, like you’re supposed to get the most “American” beer while you’re here, even if it’s in reality one of the very worst American beers there is.

            Budweiser has been losing sales in the U.S. for over two decades while steadily gaining sales abroad. I think it’s less Europe sales than it is China, Russia etc. though…

          • smallteam says:

             Like how hipsters drink PBR?

          • TheMudshark says:

            Yeah, I can see how some tourists in the U.S. could order a Bud in a bar for the supposed American-ness of itl. In Europe, at least around the people I know, it´s widely recognized as vile piss.

            Anyway, I´ve had great beers in both the U.S. and Canada. I actually wish fewer brewers in my home country of Austria would adhere to the German Reinheitsgebot and instead start experimenting more, like they do in North America.

          • retchdog says:

            the europeans i knew consistently bought it because it was cheapest, and then complained about it.

            in retrospect i should have explained to them that if they wanted to pay an amount in US$ equivalent in purchasing power to what a normal european beer costs, they could have gotten any number of decent or even superlative beers.

            some people just can’t handle choice. they’d have probably complained anyway.

    • marilove says:

      “American” beer? Huh.  I just had Moose Drool last night. Quite American. It was delicious and certainly not “water”.

      I’ve also been to the Stone Brewery — makers of Arrogant Bastard.

      Quite American. And wonderful.

    • Navin_Johnson says:

      America has the greatest selection of beers available in the world. Budweiser and other macros are not among them though.

  14. kobrakai says:

    Both are crap. How would anyone know?

    • Navin_Johnson says:

       Makers isn’t “great”, but it’s a much better bourbon than Budweiser is a beer.

      • kobrakai says:

        Seeing the comment above about Makers being the best people can get in other regions brought me back to reality. I live in Louisville, KY and have the greatest selection of bourbons in the world available to me so my perspective is a bit skewed.

        • Navin_Johnson says:

          Good point. It’s a horrifying thought. I will say that I’ve been in a number of divey/sporty bars where the top tier for their bourbon and whiskey was just Makers and Jamesons, and you can forget any good scotch. I suppose in these situations I’ve at least felt comfortable in knowing what I was getting with a Makers.

          • retchdog says:

            Maker’s was the premium whiskey when I was an undergraduate. This is the only acceptable time for it to be so.

  15. 10xor01 says:

    Stay well hyrdated with Bud.

    Because
    U
    Deserve
    What
    Every
    Individual
    Should
    Enjoy
    Regularly

  16. GawainLavers says:

    Budweiser is crap because it’s rice beer (I grew up in rice country, and they were one of the major buyers).  Most Chinese and Japanese beers, ironically, conform to the German Purity Law of 1516.

  17. Baldhead says:

    I thought the standard was to brew it stronger, say 8% then water down to the desired percentage. This way they don’t have to trouble themselves to brew Bud and Bud light seperately just add more water to one at the bottling stage. 

  18. heard this on the news this morning. they actually said “bamboozled!” I was bartending at 7am when i heard it, and asked all my drunks at the bar to say “i been bamboozled!”. they’re Busch drinkers, which is made by Bud. good times. 

  19. Andy Simmons says:

    I don’t understand, Bud drinkers.  If you suspect that Budweiser is watered down, why don’t you just do what the rest of the world does, and drink other, better beers instead?  There are plenty of superior brews out there, you just probably won’t find them in wide-mouth cans at your nearest convenience store.

    • Navin_Johnson says:

      Actually, the truly insulting thing about Bud is that it tries to market (and price) itself as somehow being above other lawnmower beers like Pabst, Shlitz etc. If I was forced to choose between any those I’d pick Shlitz, Pabst, Old Style etc. over Budweiser any day. Bud really is just rancid, and by cheap beer, convenience store standards too.

      • IronEdithKidd says:

        Oh, man, Old Style – the swill of university days.  Kinda miss that crap.  Can’t get it in Michigan, but randomly we again have Hamm’s.  Though that’s more of a fishing beer than a lawnmower beer.  Prefer Labatt or Molson for mowing. ;-)

      • Andy Simmons says:

        Hear, hear.  Back in college, I used to joke about how Stroh’s was a beer that should include a hose and a funnel in every case.  But the truth was that it wasn’t really any worse than Budweiser (or Miller, or Coors, or…), it was just cheaper, and therefore more economical to consume in volume.

        The brewmaster at the Weeping Radish brewery in NC likes to point out that the wonderful thing about macrobrews is the consistency — the fact that you can buy a case of Bud in Seattle in January and it will taste the same as a case bought in Nashville in July.  And he has a point.  Macrobrews are the fast food of beers.  Quality and character take a backseat to consistency and economy.

        But again, if Budweiser is watering down their beer, at least they’re probably doing it consistently across the line.  Which shouldn’t matter to Bud drinkers, because taste and character weren’t the name of the game in the first place.

        To any butthurt Bud fans out there, I’d be happy to provide you with a long list of superior beers to drown your sorrows in.

      • BillStewart2012 says:

        “Lawnmower beer” is the right phrase for understanding Budweiser and its ilk.  If you’re in St. Louis MO (where Anheuser Busch is based) in the summer, where it’s 100 degrees and 95% humidity outside, and you’ve been out working on your lawn, a cold Budweiser is exactly the right thing to drink.  It’s cold, acidic, lightly beer flavored, not too alcoholic, and rehydrates you quickly. 

        You really can’t drink a Guinness in that weather (or at least not until you’ve had a Bud or two to cool yourself down.)  Save that for places with weather like Dublin or San Francisco.  Bud’s not a great beer, but it’s perfectly fine for some environments.

  20. Uncle Geo says:

    Apparently after prohibition the supply chains were so weakened, American brewers turned to Pilsners because you need far less ingredients to make ‘em. And because it tasted watered down even back then, they
    encouraged everyone to drink it really cold rather than cellar temp like a manly beer.

    Nothing wrong with pilsners, but macrobrew pilsners have always been the 90 pound weaklings of beer -or what I call “training beer”. It’s ironic that so many buzz cut, penis compensating, F150 driving, mouth breathers drink the nancy-boy beers.

    Just sayin.

Leave a Reply