MillerCoors Is Suing Anheuser-Busch Over 'Misleading' Bud Light Corn Syrup Campaign
This #corntoversy has escalated quickly.
Trouble is brewing in the beer industry.
Tension first arose between Bud Light and Miller Light when Anheuser-Busch used Bud Light’s 2019 Super Bowl commercials to call out Miller Lite and Coors Light—owned by beer giant MillerCoors—for using corn syrup in their brewing processes. The message implied that it’s a low-quality ingredient added to their beer, while Bud Light instead chooses to use rice in the fermentation process.
The two companies have since gone back and forth over social media, with MillerCoors clapping back at Anheuser-Busch with a hotly-worded Twitter statement, admitting that they do use corn syrup—not high-fructose corn syrup—in their brewing process, but that it does not end up in the beer consumers drink. Now, MillerCoors is taking the feud one step further, suing Anheuser-Busch for attempting to profit off of the defamatory commercials.
The lawsuit, which PEOPLE obtained from a MillerCoors representative, is filed as a “Complaint for Injunctive and Other Relief” against Anheuser-Busch, demanding reparations for “a false and misleading advertising campaign targeting Miller Lite and Coors Light in order to deceive beer consumers into believing that there is corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup in Miller Lite and Coors Light to increase sales of Bud Light.”
They allege that Anheuser-Busch singled them out for using corn syrup, knowingly aware that “many consumers prefer not to ingest ‘high-fructose corn syrup’…the controversial sweetener commonly used in soft drinks,” and that most people do not know the difference between corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup.
They describe the series of commercials as an “extensive and pervasive advertising scheme designed to frighten consumers into switching away from Miller Lite and Coors Light to Bud Light,” stating that it cost Anheuser-Busch over $13 million.
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When reached for comment, Gemma Hart, Vice President of Communications, Anheuser-Busch said the company stands by their advertisements.
“The recent Bud Light campaign is truthful and intended to point out a key difference from Miller Lite and Coors Light. Those beers are brewed with corn syrup; Bud Light is not. These are facts. MillerCoors has admitted to using corn syrup on its website, in social media, in a full page ad thanking Bud Light following the Super Bowl, and even in the lawsuit itself,” read the statement. “MillerCoors’ lawsuit is baseless and will not deter Bud Light from providing consumers with the transparency they demand. We stand behind the Bud Light transparency campaign and have no plans to change the advertising.”