Gauntlet down. MillerCoors files for preliminary injunction against Anheuser corn syrup ads alleging Anheuser DOES use high-fructose corn syrup in “some” of its malt beverages.
Are consumers under a misimpression that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are the same thing? Are beer drinkers fooled by thinking Miller Lite and Coors Light contain corn syrup when an ad says that they are “brewed with corn syrup?”
A court will soon be assessing the question.
MillerCoors filed a motion for preliminary injunction yesterday in the recent lawsuit over the Anheuser-Busch corn syrup advertisements, replete with a declaration from the “Vice President of Global Brewing, Quality, Innovation and Technical Governance for Molson Coors” stating: “I understand that [Anheuser-Busch] does use HFCS [high-fructose corn syrup] in some of its malt beverages.” You can read the declaration here (see paragraph 15). And we’ve got the remaining briefs and supporting documentation for you below.
You can see how contentious and as we’ve reported, thinly sliced this whole thing is as the declaration doesn’t say Bud Light uses corn syrup, just that other AB products do. MillerCoors has been using this as a refrain for some time:
The same goes for the ad campaign and the tightrope walking assertions that are being made about specific products and ingredients and using the words “brewed” and not “contains”:
So what’s this motion about?
The import, as you’ve garnered from our prior article on this case, is that the ads cause consumer confusion and damage the MillerCoors brand by implying that Coors Light and Miller Lite contain corn syrup (and worse, the high fructose kind) and that that’s false and is actionable. Reaching further to push into a better Lanham act claim, MillerCoors also argues that AB intended to cause consumer confusion about the contents of Miller Lite and Coors Light, that these corn syrup ads are “material” to consumers, and that MillerCoors was harmed and is being harmed (important if you’re asking for something to be halted through an injunction) by the advertising campaign.
The court received the motion and ordered that once service on Anheuser-Busch was confirmed, AB would have 21 days to file a reply. Counsel for AB filed their appearances yesterday as well, so the clock is likely ticking.
Here are the documents:
The Declaration of Dr. John S. White, biochemist at the University of Illinois attesting that Anheuser-Busch uses corn syrup as an adjunct in brewing Bud Ice, Natural Light, Natural Ice, Busch Light, Rolling Rock, Stella Artois Cidre, Stella Artois Spritzer and Bon & Viv Sparkling.