A beer drinker is suing Anheuser-Busch because one of its beers isn't actually made by Belgian monks. An optometrist named Henry Vazquez has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit in Miami federal court claiming he was misled into thinking Leffe is produced in a Belgian abbey, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The suit cites misleading marketing copy on the beer's packaging, which contains phrases like "First brewed and perfected by Belgian Monks over 700 years ago," and "Seven centuries of Belgian craftsmanship in every chalice. #Leffe, since 1240." The complaint goes on to say:
In reality, Leffe Beer has not been brewed at the Abbey of Leffe since the Abbey was destroyed during the French Revolution. Instead, Leffe Beer is mass-produced at the Stella Artois Brewery industrial complex, not crafted in an abbey by monks with centuries of skill at the craft. In fact, the beer is produced with little human involvement because the Stella Artois Brewery is fully automated.
Vazquez was no doubt inspired by a string of similar lawsuits that have caused Anheuser-Busch to cough up big bucks in recent years: In 2015, a judge ruled that people who purchased Kirin Ichiban beer believing it was imported from Japan were entitled to a refund (it hasn't been brewed in Japan since 1996, when it was bought out by Anheuser Busch), and last year a successful $20 million class-action suit was filed against the beer conglomerate over Beck's; despite a label that trumpets the beer's German heritage, it's been brewed in St. Louis for years.
Reached for comment by Eater, a spokesperson for Anheuser Busch says, “Leffe has a proud, Belgian brewing heritage and is still brewed today with care and tradition under an agreement with the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Leffe. The Union of Belgian Breweries provides guidance for certifying that a beer is a Belgian Abbey beer, and Leffe meets these criteria. We believe that the labels on Leffe are accurate and will vigorously defend our company against the lawsuit.”
Check out the court complaint filed against Anheuser-Busch, below: