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Old 05-29-2004, 12:08 PM   #1
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Beer Wars

MILWAUKEE - A federal judge Friday night ordered Anheuser-Busch Cos. to pull one of three sets of ads in a new campaign that targets its chief rival, Miller Brewing Co., as being South African-owned.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman said the ads that must be pulled posters displayed in liquor stores falsely state that Milwaukee-based Miller is owned by South African Breweries.

The judge said in issuing a preliminary injunction that two sets of television ads Miller wanted blocked can continue to run.

Philip Morris sold Miller to South African Brewers PLC in 2002, which formed a new company called SABMiller PLC, based in London.

Adelman said it was clearly untrue that Miller is "owned by South African Breweries," as it said on the posters, but he could not rule on claims that the company is still largely South African-owned.

Anheuser-Busch claimed the judge's decision upheld the truthfulness of its campaign, despite the ruling against the posters.

"We are pleased that the judge agreed that our ads are truthful and should not be censored," said Francine Katz, Anheuser-Busch vice president of communications and consumer affairs. "We will continue to tell the public that Miller was purchased by South African Breweries and is South African-owned, a fact they seem to want to disavow."

Miller spokesman Mike Hennick said his company also considered the ruling a victory.

"We're pleased that the court has found A-B's ads false and deceptive and that the court is ordering them to remove them immediately from the marketplace. We look forward to pursuing the broader issues in a trial," he said.

Miller wanted all the ads blocked during the Memorial Day weekend, saying they would do irreparable harm to Miller on a patriotic holiday that is typically one of the strongest for beer sales.

The nation's two biggest brewers have been making unusually pointed references to each other in recent advertising for their light beers, as consumers look for lower carbohydrate alternatives.

Miller attorney Christopher Cole said in court that the Anheuser-Busch ads were false in claiming that Miller is owned by a South African company and were misleading to consumers because they imply Miller beer is not brewed in the United States.

Anheuser-Busch lawyer Peter Moll contended that SABMiller is a South African company because a majority of its stockholders and its top three executives are South Africans.

The judge said it was unclear what standard should be used in deciding ownership, particularly since both companies made competing claims.

Miller's motion claimed St. Louis-based based Anheuser-Busch, maker of Budweiser and Bud Light, is unfairly hurting Miller Lite sales with its recent "Unleash the Dawgs" campaign.

Friday's injunction is a temporary remedy until Adelman can hear all the arguments for both sides in a formal trial. A date has not yet been set for that, but Adelman will hear Miller's claim for another restraining order June 29, for promotions in which Anheuser-Busch calls Miller Lite the "Queen of Carbs."

Adelman also set a $2.5 million bond for Miller, to cover possible penalties for Anheuser-Busch's sales losses in case his decision is reversed at a trial.

The judge watched commercials from both companies, including a Miller ad in which a man tries to debate a Clydesdale, a symbol of Budweiser beer, over its "American-ness," and an Anheuser-Busch ad in which two lizards discuss Miller's acquisition by a South African company.

Miller also alleged Bud distributors put 3-by-5 inch stickers on Miller Lite products, calling it the "Queen of Carbs" and "Owned by South African Breweries."

Miller gave the court photos of Miller Lite with stickers bearing the Bud Light logo that read, "All light beers are low in carbs. Choose on Taste."

In a deal worked out Thursday night, Anheuser-Busch agreed to send a memo to all distributors reminding them that stickering or defacing competitors' products is illegal, but the company did not admit any guilt.

Miller attorneys said distributors had reported the stickering tactics in California, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida.

Miller Lite sales allegedly rose 13.2 percent by May 8 after the company launched an ad campaign last year saying it had half the carbs of Bud Light. Miller's motion said sales of Bud Light dropped 0.8 percent in the period.

Katz said the company's "Unleash the Dawgs" campaign, launched a week ago, was designed to help company wholesalers prepare for the Memorial Day holiday.

Anheuser-Busch, the world's biggest brewer, held 50 percent of the U.S. beer market last year. Miller, the world's second largest brewer by volume, had 18 percent.
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Old 05-29-2004, 02:33 PM   #2
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*sips my Guinness and chuckles at the kiddies in the sandbox squabbling over which of their urine-water is superior*
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Old 05-29-2004, 02:56 PM   #3
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meh.

i prefer sam adams.
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Old 05-29-2004, 03:32 PM   #4
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This diehard Mexican still loves his Corona and Negra Modelo
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Old 05-29-2004, 04:16 PM   #5
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beer
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Old 05-29-2004, 04:20 PM   #6
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The best beer is cold and free.
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Old 05-29-2004, 04:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
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The best beer is cold and free.
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Old 05-29-2004, 05:31 PM   #8
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The best beer is no beer.
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Old 05-30-2004, 01:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bonochick
The best beer is cold and free.
So true.....so very.....very true!
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Old 05-30-2004, 03:35 AM   #10
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Canadian beer

Cold and free Canadian beer
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Old 05-30-2004, 08:44 AM   #11
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a pint of sam adams light... 126 calories, 10.9 carbs
a pint of heineken... 150 calories, 12.2 carbs
a pint of corona... 148 calories, 14.1 carbs
a pint of orange juice... 165 calories, 39.0 carbs
a pint of skim milk... 135 calories, 18.0 carbs
a pint of guinness... 125 calories, 9.8 carbs.
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Old 05-31-2004, 01:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase
a pint of sam adams light... 126 calories, 10.9 carbs
a pint of heineken... 150 calories, 12.2 carbs
a pint of corona... 148 calories, 14.1 carbs
a pint of orange juice... 165 calories, 39.0 carbs
a pint of skim milk... 135 calories, 18.0 carbs
a pint of guinness... 125 calories, 9.8 carbs.
This settles it......don't drink anything BUT beer. If only we could get away with being drunk at work.
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Old 05-31-2004, 04:36 PM   #13
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All this time I have been putting skim milk on my cereal when I should have been pouring Guinness instead
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Old 05-31-2004, 04:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edgeman

If only we could get away with being drunk at work.
It's possible!
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Old 05-31-2004, 06:57 PM   #15
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This is nuts. I don't give a damn who owns the beer companies.
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