Bud Light has been ordered to stop using "no corn syrup" language on its products and packaging as part of MillerCoors' legal fight against the Anheuser-Busch brand.
Federal judge William Conley of the Western District of Wisconsin issued a preliminary injunction against the beer giant this week.
The court has allowed Anheuser-Busch to sell remaining Bud Light inventory with the controversial language up until March 2020 at the very latest.
"Today’s ruling is another victory for MillerCoors, but more importantly it is another victory for the American public against deceptive advertising like Bud Light’s," said MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley. "Bud Light’s campaign was bad for the public, bad for the industry and against the law. With this ruling, we are holding Bud Light accountable for their actions, and we will keep holding their feet to the fire every time they intentionally mislead the American public."
The ruling followed a months-long legal battle from MillerCoors following Bud Light’s Super Bowl ads that implied competitors including Miller Lite and Coors Light contain corn syrup in their products.
As part of the judge’s ruling, Conley concluded that "in light of the limited number of beers in the light beer market, with Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light accounting for almost 100% of sales, that same jury could also find a substantial segment of consumers would infer that Bud Light’s principal competitors contain corn syrup, especially after a hundred-million-dollar television and print campaign misleadingly suggesting the same thing."
Bud Light’s 70 million unsold packages that include the language is estimated to be valued at about $27.7 million.
In a statement, Bud Light remained unapologetic about its marketing stance.
"Bud Light is brewed with no corn syrup – plain and simple. We look forward to defending our right to inform beer drinkers of this fact at trial and on appeal," a spokesperson said. "MillerCoors is resisting consumer demands for transparency in the ingredients used to brew its beers, but those demands are here to stay. We will continue leading this movement in the beer industry."
This story first appeared on campaignlive.com.