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US man sues AB InBev over ‘deceptive’ Leffe

Anheuser-Busch Inbev is being sued by a beer drinker in the US who claims its Leffe beer brand duped him into believing it was brewed in a Belgian abbey.

Last year Anheuser Busch InBev was forced to pay out $20m to US customers who a court said were duped into thinking that their Beck’s beer was brewed in Germany rather than the US

Henry Vazquez, an optometrist, filed a class action lawsuit in Miami federal court, claiming that deceptive packaging had caused him to overpay for Leffe beer, Reuters reported.

Rather than being brewed in a Belgian abbey, Leffe is brewed in an automated factory which also makes Stella Artois, in Leuven, Belgium.

The lawsuit was filed in the very same court in which, as reported in db, Anheuser last year reached a $20 million settlement with 1.7 million drinkers of Beck’s beer. The drinkers claimed Anheuser had made them believe Beck’s was made in Germany when it was in fact produced in St Louis, Missouri.

Vazquez said Anheuser was misleading consumers by selling Leffe as a premium beer. Leffe’s packaging label described the beer as being first “brewed and perfected by Belgian monks” in 1240 and sustained through “750 years of Belgian tradition”, Reuters said. The label also depicts the bell tower of an abbey.

The lawsuit said that unlike other Belgian beers, such as Chimay, Leffe had not been brewed at an abbey since the Abbaye de Leffe was destroyed in the French Revolution around 1794.

Leffe is brewed in the same industrial plant in Leuven in which Stella Artois is made. The plant has a brewing capacity of around 9m hectoliters per year.

“Their marketing quite clearly shows Leffe to be a specialty craft beer,” a lawyer for Vazquez told Reuters.

“Consumers believe they are buying something that is limited quantity and very high quality. That is not the case.”

The lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for consumers across the US who bought Leffe within the last four years, as well as a formal declaration that Leffe is not made in an abbey or by monks.

Anheuser Busch Inbev has been contact for comment.

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