Budweiser Rejects 'Watered Down' Claim In Ads
The maker of Budweiser beer has paid for adverts in a string of American newspapers to deny claims it is watering down its beers.
Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world's biggest brewer, defended itself against the allegations that water had been added to 10 beers just prior to bottling.
The full-page advertisements were published in around a dozen leading newspapers across the United States on Sunday.
The ads featured a picture of a can of drinking water, one of the non-alcoholic drinks sold by the firm below the caption, "They must have tested one of these".
Some beer consumers have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing the company of mislabelling and overstating the actual alcohol content of its beer.
The legal move includes claims by ex-employees of alleged company action to maximise profits by weakening the beers.
The 10 brands in the action include Budweiser, Michelob, Michelob Ultra, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, King Cobra, Busch Ice, Natural Ice, Bud Ice, Bud Light Platinum and Bud Light Lime.
The company has said the lawsuit is groundless.
Lawyers for the beer drinkers have sought production line quality control records, which they say reveal the scale of the alleged action.
AB InBev has around 25% of the world's drink market, and was formed by the acquisition of the American brewer Anheuser-Busch by InBev, which itself was a merger between Belgium's Interbrew and Brazil's AmBev.
In addition to the US beers it also owns global brands such as Stella Artois, Beck's and Corona.
It has 14 brands that each generate more than $1bn (£665m) annually.
The move by the brewer comes as it was revealed UK alcohol consumption dropped 3.3% in 2012.
According to the British Beer and Pub Association, consumption has declined by 16% per head since 2004, with per capita volume of alcohol now below 8 litres annually.