By Mike Pomranz
Updated January 08, 2015
Credit: © YURIKO NAKAO / Reuters / Corbis

Lots of people feel passionately about where their food comes from and, as evidenced by a recently settled lawsuit against beer giant Anheuser-Busch, they feel passionately about where their beer comes from, too. At issue is Kirin beer: A-B, which bought Kirin in 1996, has called it both an import and “Japan’s Prime Beer,” even though the actual brewing takes place in Los Angeles and Williamsburg, Virginia.

The lawsuit was originally filed back in October by Miami residents Lady J. Suarez and Gustavo E. Oliva, who claimed that Kirin’s packaging misled them into believing the beer came from Japan. The confusion apparently came because even though each can and bottle says it is “brewed under Kirin's strict supervision by Anheuser-Busch in Los Angeles, CA, and Williamsburg, VA,” that doesn’t appear on the outside packaging of six-packs and 12-packs. Even though A-B insists that their labeling has always been truthful, they decided to settle out of court.

According to the terms of the settlement, Kirin drinkers who purchased the beer between Oct. 25, 2009, and Dec. 17, 2014, are eligible for a refund of up to $50 per household, based on 50 cents per six-pack of bottles, $1 per 12-pack of bottles or 10 cents per bottle or can, all with proof of receipt. Oh, you haven’t been saving four and a half years' worth of beer receipts? That’s pretty irresponsible of you, but you can still file a claim for up to $12. Claims can be placed online, with information about the site forthcoming.

Additionally, as part of the settlement, Anheuser-Busch agreed to stop calling the beer an import and to more prominently display the information about where the beer is brewed. Truth be told, Kirin sold in the US hasn’t been brewed in Japan in almost 20 years

This suit could be just the tip of the iceberg. An extremely similar lawsuit is currently pending concerning Anheuser-Busch’s marketing of their Beck’s brand. I’m beginning to suspect it might not be brewed in Germany!