On Tuesday, beer drinkers in three states filed federal lawsuits against Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer and the purveyor of Budweiser, Bud Light Lime, Michelob Ultra and other innovative beer and beer-like products.
A Dallas-area drinker has now joined their ranks. Michael Seidenstein, a 30-something man who owns property in Dallas and Plano, filed a federal class-action lawsuit on Thursday in the Northern District of Texas.
The claim is that the company watered down its booze, diluting it below its stated alcohol content and violating the state's consumer protection statutes, so that it can sell more beer.
Seidenstein puts it this way in his suit:
Using highly advanced process control instrumentation and corporate protocols, AB can and does identify and control, with great accuracy and precision, the exact alcohol content of each malt beverage it swells, but it nevertheless intentionally misrepresents numerous of such products as containing greater amounts of alcohol than they actually contain.
This fooled Seidenstein, who, according to the suit "purchased approximately one six-pack or twelve-pack of Bud Light Platinum, Bud Light Lime or Michelob Ultra per month during the past four years at various retailers." When he splurged on Bud Light Platinum, a light beer that touts its six-percent alcohol content, "he specifically did so because of its higher alcohol content," which he believed would cause whatever activities he was currently engaged in ("Shit") to more quickly advance to a stage of unruliness ("Get Cray.")
Revealing a stunning lack of alcoholic curiosity, or perhaps just some modicum of taste, Seidenstein then claims he never partook of Bud Ice, Hurricane High Gravity Lager, King Cobra, Busch Ice, Natural Ice, Black Crown, though he mentions those in his suit, too.
Seidenstein's suit is a class-action, meaning he's invited anyone living in Texas who has consumed an Anheuser-Busch product to join in. He expects total damages to top $5 million.
(It should be noted that NPR, among other news outlets, did independent tests and concluded that Bud's alcohol content is as advertised. And the company called the claims "completely false.")
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We've left a message on Seidenstein's home number and emailed his attorney, Roger Mandel, whose auto-reply says he's out of town. There are still a lot of questions we want to have answers. Namely, "It took you four years to realize that Budweiser is watery swill?" And, "How the hell did you make a six pack last for a whole month?"
Update on March 1: The answers to those questions will have to come out in court. Mandel sent along a terse statement last night:
In the best interests of representing all of the Texans who purchased watered down AB products, Mr. Seidenstein will not be giving any interviews.