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Man files lawsuit against A-B InBev over Leffe origins

Anheuser-Busch InBev (Leuven, Belgium) finds themselves in crosshairs of a class-action lawsuit once again. This time it’s over the brewing status of their brand, Leffe.

Henry Vazquez filed suit against A-B in Miami, Florida last week. Vazquez is no stranger to this process. Last year, he successfully filed suit against A-B over the Beck’s packaging. In last year’s claim he contended the world’s largest brewery was misleading Beck’s drinkers into paying a premium for German brewed beer. Beck’s is actually brewed in St. Louis, Missouri, with United States water.

As for Leffe, this new suit asserts that A-B is misleading drinkers into thinking the brand is brewed in a Belgian Abbey, which it is not. Leffe is brewed at the Stella Artois plant in Leuven.

The abbey referenced on the Leffe label was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1794. Additionally, the label mentions “first brewed and perfected by monks,” which Vazquez states further misleads the drinker into thinking the brand is a true abbey brewed beer.

He could actually have a case. If you read the history on the beer’s website, especially for Leffe Blonde, the description could leave one to think this beer is monastically brewed, even to this day.

In the fifties, an extraordinary meeting took place that all beer enthusiasts should raise their glass of Leffe to. 
 The abbey’s Father Abbot Nys became acquainted with Albert Lootvoet, a master brewer.
 Passionate about the future of the brewery, Father Nys was upset to have to witness how, since the unpleasant stay of the French revolutionaries, the brewery had slowly fallen into decline and had eventually had to close its doors in 1809. Such a magnificent place could not be forgotten, he believed, and he vowed to bring the Leffe beer back. Father Nys and the brewer set about the challenge with vigour…and succeeded. Shortly after, the Leffe brewery was back in full effect. After Leffe Brown, a beer that shone brighter than the sun saw the light of day; they named it Leffe Blond – a beautiful chapter for Leffe indeed.

The suit requests compensatory and punitive damages for Leffe drinkers spanning the past four years, nationwide.

The case – Vazquez v. Anheuser-Busch Cos, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, No. 16-21181.

Image via Beer Street Journal. Taken at Stella Artois plant in Leuven, Belgium.