On Tuesday, Stella Khaimova filed a complaint against Anheuser-Busch, LLC in the Northern District of Illinois, alleging consumer fraud and misrepresentation for its use of “Made With Agave” on labels and marketing material for Bud Light Platinum Seltzer.
The complaint alleges that consumers are misled by the statement “Made with Agave” because it gives consumers the impression the product contains a more valued type of agave ingredient than it does. According to the complaint, Bud Light Platinum Seltzer is made with agave syrup and not agave spirits and the plaintiffs “desired to purchase a product that contained agave spirits, not agave sweetener.”
The complaint goes on to allege that the representations on the product packaging and labeling including “Platinum,” “Made For the Night,” and “8% ALC/VOL,” along with “Made With Agave” lead consumers to believe the product contains agave spirits.
To support this conclusion, the plaintiffs argue that “Platinum” refers to a type of tequila (an agave spirit), is defined as a valuable silvery-grey metal, and “in the context of nightlife, platinum is a term that is accompanied by status and importance.” Further, the complaint states that “Made For the Night” tells consumers that Bud Light Platinum Seltzers is not a typical hard seltzer made from cane-sugar and consumers of alcohol typically associate consumption of hard liquors with a night out. Additionally, the complaint states that the emphasis of “8% ALC/VOL” tells consumers the product is high in alcohol content suggesting the presence of agave spirits.
The complaint also argues that the increased demand and popularity of agave spirits, such as tequila and mezcal, in the United States has increased consumer’s belief that Bud Light Platinum Seltzers contain agave spirits and allowed Anheuser-Busch to sell the product at a price premium.
According to the complaint, Khaimova seeks class certification for all persons in Illinois, Iowa and Arkansas who purchased Bud Light Platinum Seltzers.
On behalf of the class members, Khaimova claims Anheuser-Busch violated the Illinois, Iowa and Arkansas Consumer Fraud and Deceptive business Practices Acts, an Implied Warranty of Merchantability, the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, and negligently misrepresented and defrauded consumer resulting in unjust enrichment. The plaintiffs are represented by Sheehan & Associates, P.C.