Tests: Budweiser Isn't Fudging on Alcohol Content

Actual percentages match can labeling: lab
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2013 2:49 AM CST
Updated Feb 28, 2013 6:03 AM CST
Testing Backs Budweiser on Alcohol Content
Image of the iconic Budweiser sign at Anheuser-Busch's St. Louis brewery.   (PRNewsFoto/Anheuser-Busch)

New testing may spell trouble for class action lawsuits over Budweiser alcohol content. At NPR's request, scientists in San Diego investigated whether Anheuser-Busch InBev's alcohol percentages matched labels—and found that they did. In tests of Budweiser, Bud Light Lime, and Michelob Ultra, "some of them were spot-on. Others deviated, plus or minus, within a hundredth of a percentage," easily complying with federal laws, says a lab specialist. Still, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case says internal company testing will reveal otherwise.

Many brewers add water to beer before packaging it in a process known as high-gravity brewing, NPR notes. "In high-gravity brewing, you can make a lot more beer by stretching the beer that you have fermented," says an expert. "I would assume that all major brewers in the world high-gravity brew. It is not unique to AB." And brewers keep a close eye on alcohol content; most test it after packaging. And as for the impact on Joe Sixpack, says the founder of Beer Advocate, "I don't think it truly matters with most people out there." (More Budweiser stories.)

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