Beck's Reaches Class-Action Settlement over False Advertising Claims

Beck's logo
Image: Pixabay
October 26, 2015

If you drink Beck's beer, you could be in line for a minor windfall.

Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge John J. O'Sullivan approved a settlement in a class-action suit which alleged that Anheuser-Busch misled Beck's consumers.

The brewery emphasized the beer's "German Quality" and noted that it was made under the "German Purity Law of 1516." There was almost no indication on the packaging that the pilsner is in fact brewed in St. Louis, MO.

Individuals with proof that they bought Beck's beer at a retail outlet could receive up to $50 per household. If you do not have receipts, you can qualify for $12 maximum.

The original Beck's brewery was founded in 1873 in Bremen, Germany, where it was family-run until a 2002 purchase by Anheuser-Busch. The Belgian conglomerate moved production to St. Louis in 2012, but retained an emphasis on Germany, which plaintiffs' attorney Tucker Ronzetti claimed was false advertising.

"(The plaintiffs) realized they had been deceived," Ronzetti told ABC News. "The packaging didn't really explain that it was a domestic beer."

One plaintiff, Francisco Rene Marty, claimed in court papers that he bought the product weekly because he believed it to be an authentic German beer using local ingredients. He said he "would not have purchased Beck's had he known (Anheuser-Busch's) representations were false."

Anheuser-Busch initially fought the claims, but eventually relented, agreeing to a settlement and to alter its packaging.

"We reached a compromise in the Beck's labeling case," Jorn Socquet, Anheuser-Busch vice president for marketing, said in a written statement. "We believe our labeling, packaging and marketing of Beck's has always been truthful, transparent and in compliance with all legal requirements."

An estimated 1.7 million U.S. households could qualify for settlement payments. According to court documents, in 2012 the company sold more than 2.6 million cases of Beck's in the U.S. at an average price of about $27 each.

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