Judge orders Bud Light to finally knock it off with the “no corn syrup” thing

Illustration for article titled Judge orders Bud Light to finally knock it off with the “no corn syrup” thing
Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

The rivalry between Budweiser and its competitor beer brands, Miller and Coors, has in the past months become a messy, protracted battle. If such competition was once a nimble jiu-jitsu match, it now resembles something akin to mud wrestling. What sparked the down-and-dirty battle was a Bud Light ad that aired during the Super Bowl, in which the brand accused competitors of using corn syrup in their beers.

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I’ve already made my case as to why the ad is problematic from a brewing perspective, so I won’t rehash that. That ad led to months of petty back-and-forth between MillerCoors and Budweiser parent company Anheuser Busch InBev that went beyond the typical competition you’d see between two global brands, and resulted in an inevitable lawsuit. But finally, we may get some reprieve, thanks to a judge’s ruling yesterday.

U.S. District Judge William Conley confirmed an initial injunction against the “no corn syrup” ads he issued this spring, further ordering Bud Light to remove the “no corn syrup” icon and text from its packaging. Per Brewbound, Bud Light has until March 2020 to use up its existing stock of this packaging, and is barred from printing any more boxes with “no corn syrup” messaging should it run out before then.

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That seems to be the final nail in the coffin for the so-called Corn Syrup Wars, with the commercials ordered offline and the packaging finally on its way out. Hopefully, the country’s largest beer makers can move past this exhausting, months-long squabble and focus on, you know, making beer.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

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Plies, again

Not that I have a dog in the fight between MillerCoors and InBev... but I’m not sure I agree with this? The ruling says it was deceptive to imply competing beers use corn syrup, but at least according to Miller’s reply to the initial ad, they do use it. Maybe you don’t think it’s a problem that they use it, but even they admit that they do.

The irony to me is that the Bud Light packaging says it uses rice in big letters, which I guess is appropriate given that it’s a light beer, but not exactly a selling point in my book.