The Talented Beck’s Beer Masquerade

In the movies and in reality, people get away with it all of the time. Like the 1999 thriller, “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” when a restroom attendant, Tom Ripley impersonates a wealthy Princeton graduate and a jazz music connoisseur. In fact, he does it so well that he ends up in Italy among a group of affluent socialites. But that was not enough for Mr. Tom Ripley, played by Matt Damon. In the end, he becomes so obsessed with one of jetsetters that he kills him and steals his girlfriend.

Think it can only happen in the movies. Well, think again.

In 2013, a German native, Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter was sentenced to 27 years for murder and impersonating “a British baronet, a Las Vegas cardiologist, a Hollywood producer, a bond broker in New York, among other identities,” according to the National Public Radio. But Gerhartsreiter’s greatest con was pretending to be a Rockefeller. And he got away with it for over 30 years until he was arrested in 2007, according to CNN.

“The fake Rockefeller’s elaborate facade could have carried on for decades more, but when he was arrested for abducting his daughter, Reigh, police started to unravel a lifetime of lies and a link to an unsolved murder case from the 1980s,” says The Daily Mail.

Now it seems the world has another great impostor, but it’s not a want-to-be social climber. This time it’s beer. And the joke is on the worldwide consumers who drink Beck’s Beer.

The Intoxicating Imitator

It was just last week when the global brewer, Anheuser-Busch, agreed to pay $3.5 million for deceiving millions of beer drinkers. The lawsuit, filed by a group of angry keg heads in 2013 at the U.S. district court in Miami, stated that Anheuser-Busch used phony labeling to make customers think they were drinking old-fashion Germany brew. Instead they were chugging beer from the U.S.

Beck’s beer is brewed at a factory in St. Louis, Miss.

“Beck’s Beer may have ‘originated in Bremen, Germany’ back in 1873 but the beer supplied here in the U.S. has been brewed in St. Louis since 2012,” says CNBC reporter Tom Rotunno.

In the preliminary settlement reached, which is scheduled for another approval hearing later this year, Anheuser-Busch will provide refunds to any U.S. elbow bender who has been misled by Beck’s Beer since May 2011. However, Anheuser-Busch still refuses to admit that it sold bogus brews.

“We believe our labeling, packaging and marketing of Beck’s have always been truthful, transparent and in compliance with all legal requirements. A-B brews Beck’s to the highest-quality standards, and is proud to employ the finest American brew masters to produce Beck’s for the U.S. market,” told CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers.

Beck’s customers with receipts are entitled to a refund, which according to Duthiers, can add up to $50. But for those who left it on the beer pong table, it will be $12. The original brew dogs who filed the suit will get up to $5,000 for more cold ones.

“We are pleased to achieve this excellent settlement for Beck’s beer purchasers, with changes to packaging and labels that make clear Beck’s is brewed in the U.S. We hope the leadership that Anheuser-Busch has shown in settling this case leads to change throughout the industry," the lawyers representing the plaintiffs told Duthiers.

Unfortunately, for other beer drinkers, Beck’s Beer is not the only fake brewer.

Boastful Brews

Those who think that they are drinking authentic, old-fashion liquid courage will be horrified to know that other beer companies have been serving up a bunch of lies too.

“Japanese-style beer Kirin Ichiban is made in Virginia and California,” says Duthiers. “Bass Ale, whose slogan is ‘The original English pale ale,’ is actually brewed in New York.”

And the deception doesn’t stop there. According to Duthiers, the world-famous Jamaican beer, Red Stripe has been brewed in Wisconsin since 2012; and Foster’s Australian beer is brewed in Texas.

It’s really enough to give an avid beer drinker “keg guts.”

Have you been misled by your favourite beer producer?

Words for Beer
You may be entitled to a refund for your beer
Beck's forced to give $50 refunds to customers after brewer admits they packaged the beer to 'look German' when it's actually brewed in Missouri