Beer brawl moves from TV to the courtroom as Bud rival sues

Anheuser-Busch sued by MillerCoors over ads highlighting use of corn syrup in beer

A scene from the Bud Light ad

A scene from the Bud Light ad

 

MillerCoors is suing rival Anheuser-Busch, claiming the maker of Bud Light spent more than $13 million on a Super Bowl ad campaign designed to frighten people away from its Miller Lite and Coors Lite brands by deceiving them into thinking they’d be consuming corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup.

“To be clear, they will not,” MillerCoors said in a federal complaint filed in Madison, Wisconsin.

MillerCoors sued for false advertising and trademark dilution. The beer maker is seeking damages and an order barring Anheuser-Busch from airing misleading ads from brand Bud Light, including commercials referred to as “Special Delivery,” “Medieval Barbers,” “Trojan Horse,” “Mountain Folk,” “Cave Explorers,” and “Thespians Performing Beer Ingredients.”

MillerCoors, which was acquired by Molson Coors after AB InBev took over rival SABMiller in 2016, says Anheuser-Busch “singled out MillerCoors’ use of a common brewing fermentation aid, corn syrup,” to fool consumers who don’t know the difference between that and high-fructose corn syrup, a controversial sweetener used in soft drinks that’s been blamed for a surge in obesity.

“The recent Bud Light campaign is truthful and intended to point out a key difference from Miller Lite and Coors Light,” a spokeswoman for AB InBev said by email. “MillerCoors’ lawsuit is baseless and will not deter Bud Light from providing consumers with the transparency they demand.”

- Bloomberg