Sweet Justice: Court Rules Bud Light Can't Say Competitors Use Corn Syrup

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Posted: May 27, 2019 9:13 AM
Sweet Justice: Court Rules Bud Light Can't Say Competitors Use Corn Syrup

Source: (AP Photo/Gene Puskar, File)

The Wall Street Journal reports that a judge has temporarily barred Anheuser-Busch Companies LLC from claiming that its competitor MillerCoors LLC uses corn syrup in its beermaking recipe. 

Following a Super Bowl commercial campaign by Bud Light, a version of beer sold by Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors sued claiming that "the ads “deceive beer consumers into believing that there is corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup in Miller Lite and Coors Light.” The company claims that "is no corn syrup in either beer by the time it reaches consumers" and "high-fructose corn syrup is never involved at any point." 

U.S. District Judge William Conley in Madison, Wis., the nation's heaviest beer drinking state, sided with Miller Coors and temporarily banned Bud Light from continuing its ad campaign. Specifically, the beer making company is prevented from running ads that say Bud Light has "'100% less corn syrup,' describe corn syrup as an ingredient in Coors Light or Miller Lite, or mention corn syrup without reference to the brewing process."

“We are pleased with today’s ruling that will force Anheuser Busch to change or remove advertisements that were clearly designed to mislead the American public,” MillerCoors Chief Executive Gavin Hattersley told the Wall Street Journal. “As the dominant market leader, Anheuser Busch should be seeking to grow the beer category, not destroy it through deceptive advertising.”

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As noted by WSJ's Nat Ives, the beer corn syrup skirmish comes as "brewers are fighting for market share amid a two-decade slide at the hands of wine and spirits."