MILLERCOORS SUES AB INBEV OVER CORN SYRUP CAMPAIGN

The Bud Knight’s crusade against corn syrup could have him waging battle in a different court: a federal courthouse.  MillerCoors, the brewer of Miller Lite and Coors Light, is accusing Saint Louis-based Anheuser Busch of misleading consumers with their advertising campaign for rival beer Bud Light.  In their 38-page filing Thursday, MillerCoors claims that Anheuser Busch designed their campaign to convince consumers and retailers that MillerCoors’ light beers are lower in quality and less healthy because they use corn syrup, even though the ingredient is consumed by yeast during fermentation.

Bud Light’s current ad campaign struck a nerve with corn farmers when their Super Bowl ads debuted, criticizing their rival’s light beers for using corn syrup in the brewing process.  The campaign not only included the Super Bowl ads, but also billboards in Saint Louis and other major markets.  MillerCoors alleges that Anheuser Busch is intentionally misleading consumers, noting that another AB product advertised during the Super Bowl, Bon and Viv’s Spiked Seltzer, has corn syrup in the final product.  The Wisconsin brewer asks the court to issue an injunction putting an end to Bud Light’s campaign, and is also demanding a jury trial.

In response to the lawsuit, a spokeswoman for Anheuser Busch told the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch that the ad campaign merely presents differences on how the light beers are brewed, and that the company does not plan to change its advertising.