Beer News

Suzie’s V. Anheuser-Busch InBev in Super Bowl Battle


David – aka, Suzie’s Organic Hard Seltzer – takes on Goliath [Anheuser-Busch InBev] in an organic hard seltzer battle over an advertising spot for tomorrow’s Super Bowl football game.

Suzie’s Brewery Company based in Pendleton, Oregon, this week sued Anheuser-Busch for false advertising and filed a motion for a temporary restraining order that would keep it from airing ads that Suzie’s claims are false. Specifically at issue are Anheuser-Busch claims in previous ads that their Michelob ULTRA brand is the “only national USDA organic certified seltzer”.

Suzie’s claims those words imply that A-B’s product is “…aimed at convincing health-conscious drinkers that its new organic hard seltzer is a unique, one-of-a-kind product. To be clear, it is not.”

A-B defends their ad utilizing the fine line of saying the use of the word “national” makes it clear that they are not claiming their product is the only USDA organic certified hard seltzer, but merely the only nationally-distributed product of that ilk.

Suzie’s launched their seltzer in Autumn 2019, received the official USDA Organic stamp in Summer 2020 and promptly went to market – in six states – with that labeling. Last month, A-B launched Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer.

“Suzie’s Seltzer, also has a national USDA organic certification, and was available on the market well before ULTRA Seltzer,” argued lawyers for Suzie’s. “In addition, there are several other hard seltzer brands on the market that have USDA organic certification.”

Suzie’s says A-B’s wording in the ad causes confusion among customers and distributors with its implication that it is a unique product when Suzie’s as well as other small company-produced hard seltzers have been certified USDA organic and some of them were already on the market before ULTRA.

A-B, on the other hand, says their wording is clear and that their usage of the word “national” in the phrase is “…correct for Ultra Seltzer to say (as it has) that it is the first “national hard seltzer that is USDA certified organic.'”

A-B says they could not claim that ULTRA was the first hard seltzer of any kind to be USDA certified organic as A-B sells another brand of hard seltzer, Maha, that was certified organic in November 2019, before ULTRA Seltzer – and four months before Suzie’s.

It may be a moot point for the Super Bowl as A-B used that wording for ads run during the NFL playoffs but has jettisoned the words for the Super Bowl ad – and, a hearing is currently scheduled for Monday, the day after the Super Bowl.

About Alex Bean

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