Budweiser may contain beer (soon?) and Burritos with real burro? (or horse)

Well, one big story in the news has been that Ambev / Budweiser has been watering down their beer to lower than label alcohol levels (that were none too high to start with…) As anyone who has had a “3.2 Beer” aka “PissWater Beer” can tell you, drop the alcohol below the 4.x into the 3.x and all you do is pee a lot, and wonder where the flavor went.

It has not become much of a scandal, IMHO, simply because anyone who actually expected real beer in their beer was not consuming BudWiper anyway…

While I heard the story on a couple of broadcast shows (at least one of which being a financial channel where the assertion was that a suit had been brought) I’ve not been able to find a link. (Complicated by just what company name to use, and which beer, and that “dilute” and “water” pull up a load of other stories…) But I did find this one showing the same thing is happening in Europe:


Inflation Rocks The UK As Beer Gets Watered Down

These types of stories are popping up with increased frequency throughout the western world. Products are simply declining in quality, and in many cases these declines are being accompanied by price increases. Remember my article from a week ago Inflation Hits Coffee as Brewers Secretly Swap Robusta for Arabica. This is more or less the same story, except this time in the UK and centered around beer. From CNBC:

Britain’s favorite pint of bitter is being watered down as austerity continues to bite and taxes rise.

John Smith’s Extra Smooth, billed as “no nonsense beer”, is being reduced from 3.8 percent alcohol to 3.6 percent in response to rising costs and reduced beer consumption.

Heineken, which is also raising the cost of the famous bitter by about 2.5 pence a pint, said it was bringing John Smith’s “in line with competitor smooth ales that already sit at or below this alcoholic strength”, including its biggest rival, Carlsberg’s Tetley Smoothflow.

So who knows, if the suit against Inbev / Anheuser-busch / Budweiser is real, and goes anywhere, Bud might have to put full strength beer in their cans… or not..

Now we have news from Britain that Taco Bell in the UK has been one of those buyers who have found a European meat supplier slipped some horse meat into their “beef”. One must simply wonder if there were any Burros in the EU as part of the ‘mix’ and might the Taco Bell Burrito actually contain some real Burro? (You do know that is where the name comes from, no?…)


Has an interesting picture (Photoshopped) of a horse heating a giant taco… shades of BSE and cannibal cows…

Neetzan Zimmerman

For those playing the home version of Horse Meat Bingo, go ahead and daub the Taco Bell square.

The latest round of tests conducted by Britain’s Food Standards Agency found that ground beef used at all local Taco Bell locations contained trace amounts of horse DNA.

Taco Bell released a statement saying it conducted its own testing, which confirmed the FSA’s findings.

Imagine a world where your beer has beer in it and your burrito has burro in it… Or not.

One other “inflation check”:

At Trader Joe’s (a grocer here) they have had Charles Shaw wine, an affordable OK bottle, for $2 for years. It’s commonly called “2 Buck Chuck”. At my last visit, the price was up to $2.50 and they have stopped trying to defend the round dollar price. Similarly, “whole chicken” had been ‘below a buck a pound’ nearly forever. Now running $1.35 or so just about everywhere, with some higher.

It’s pretty darned clear that the “no inflation” numbers are flat out lies from Government and that “cheapen the product” is now all the rage. “Inspectors” or no. (So if the “inspectors” and “regulation” result in this kind of crap, what’s the point? Why have them, or pay for them, if they accomplish nothing?…)

Not sure where to go for “preservation of value” as the metals are being dodgy right now, and stocks are wobbling in a ‘topping motion’ with lower volume on rising days and higher volume on drops. Anything denominated in any of Euro, $US, Japanese Yen, or the Chinese Yuan pegged to the $US, is pretty much in the same inflation bucket, just taking turns against each other.

Well, I’d drown my sorrows in a beer or wash down my taco with some “2 Buck Chuck”, but it looks like either of those is “risky business” and has raised issues about the “value for money spent”.

Maybe I’ll just take out a loan and buy dinner…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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29 Responses to Budweiser may contain beer (soon?) and Burritos with real burro? (or horse)

  1. Adrian Vance says:

    All of this is a consequence of the dilution of our money. Bernanke is printing $85 billion per month “to stimulate the economy” and the money goes to banks that do not lend it to businessmen, who will not borrow as they have no confidence in the economy. So, the money goes into the equities markets where it has inflated the market 50%. The actual DOW in 2007 Dollars is under 10,000. Overall your grocery bill is up 20% to 50% depending on how high you eat on the hog. If you eat beef at all you know what is happening. The smart people are buying bullets.

    Come see us at The Two Minute Conservative at http://adrianvance.blogspot.com and when you speak fine ladies will swoon and liberal gentlemen will weep.

  2. John F. Hultquist says:

    Search now with [ beer watered down ].
    Many results.
    Ohio used to have 3.2 beer and a higher level and they had different colored caps. Don’t remember much else about it (mid 1960s).

  3. John F. Hultquist says:

    The nearby town of Roslyn (played the role of Cisily, Alaska in the TV series Northern Exposure) is home to a brewery owned by folks we know. The lowest ABV is 4.8% and the highest is 6.5%.
    This watered down beer thing could be good for their business. And that reminds me, I’m out. Horrors!

  4. John Robertson says:

    I was raised on 8% beer, gave up when faced with this 5% stuff here in Canada, mostly don’t bother with booze any more but same cheats are at work in most all products.
    I can remember when cereal boxes were full, canned goods did not force one to check the ingredients before purchase and so on.
    Most processed foods are tasteless, quality fading for most tools & parts, dilute beer our ancestors would be so proud.
    I to am amused, with our saturation of regulation, laws for everything, mass production a refined art.
    The only way to get a satisfactory good, is do it yourself or know someone who does.
    Better Burro you know than contaminated mystery meat.
    You are right, the meat, beer bureaucrats are totally useless, serving no good but their own.
    I suppose from UN POV its one way to control the food supply?
    The only preservation of value I can see, is every one has to eat and perform their basic bodily functions, barter and trade will hold constant longer than cash.
    So as the underground economy kicks in, building material, maintenance good might hold up as businesses to invest in.
    Course the gunmakers are sure getting a boost right now, as chaos grows ammo sales should rise.

  5. I’ll add that what was once a 8 ounce can of tuna is now a 5 ounce can, but the size of the can has stayed the same. “Gee, I used to get TWO sandwiches out of a can of tuna, now only one?” But hey, the price per can has only risen by 50% in 15 years…

    I agree that the “no inflation” claim is complete and total BS.

    P.S. I really enjoyed the Rocket Stove posts.

  6. Serioso says:

    Ah, you missed the old joke about drinking Bud, to wit: “Why is drinking Budweiser like making love in a canoe.?” “Because it’s f***ing close to water.”

    Not using my real name this time :)

  7. omanuel says:

    The steady decline in the value of the dollar is causing many problems in society, as this once great nation continues its declines into servitude under a tyrannical one-world government.


    Here’s the rest of the story – as I now understand it – on the rise and fall of the United States government and its relationship to the rise and fall of integrity in scientific research.


    With deep regrets,
    – Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  8. Another Ian says:


    From “The Ecology of Natural Resources”, Symonds, I.G. (1974). John Wiley & Sons, New York.

    Page 143

    “Even a gallon (4.5 litres) of beer uses 350 gal (1590 Litres) of water, much of which appears to remain in the product”.

    Remember when Coors used the slogan

    “Coors Beer. Brewed with Rocky Mountain spring water”?

    Which, when completed in the style of Mad Magazine, needed “Lots of it” added IMO.

  9. Bloke down the pub says:

    In the UK, the duty levied on beer is based on the alcohol by volume and makes up the biggest part of the cost to the consumer. In recent years, in an attempt to control alcoholism, a lower rate of duty was introduced for beer below a certain strength. While many brewers produce such gnat’s piss in their range, most still make the proper stuff as well.

  10. j ferguson says:

    I am very impressed that when Taco Bell did their own DNA tests, the results agreed and they publicly acknowledged it. How often do we see anything like that? Has this ever happened before?

  11. Judy F. says:

    From the movie “Addams Family Values”, paraphrasing:

    Girl Scout : “Does your lemonade contain real lemons?”
    Wednesday: “Yes”.
    Girl Scout: “Then I will buy a glass if you buy some of my delicious Girl Scout Cookies.”
    Wednesday: ” Do they contain real Girl Scouts?”

  12. Judy F. says:

    Oops, I think the quotes were from the movie ” The Addams Family”.

  13. DirkH says:

    Where to go when metals do dodgy things? Well one should buy when nobody else wants to, so this is the time. I have not been too unhappy with my Gold purchases in the week of 08th FEB – as Euro and Gold moved down nearly the same, I’m only 2.5% down since then when expressed in Euros. I’m confident that events in the near future will make more than good for that.

    Gold has recoupled with S&P compared to pre-QE2 . So it doesn’t look overprized when expressed in soft Dollars.

    The ongoing currency war will create inflation everywhere, but where it will lead to unrest will be in China. As China is the one with the money, and the Chicoms can’t afford empire-wide uprisings, they will make a few phone calls, and the printing presses will stop – at least for a few months.

    That sounds to me like the most likely cause for the next disruption. You should be in Gold before that moment. Hoping for a repeat of AUG 2011, only better. I was on the wrong side back then and had to sit through the next ramp up.

  14. M. Simon says:

    The same company bought Rolling Rock. I used to like it. I had a bottle recently. That is the last one. It tastes terrible.

  15. Tim Clark says:

    Guiness extra stout. I don’t know the alcohol percentage, but three will schnockkkerrrr ya.

  16. Speed says:

    P.G. Sharrow linked to a Fox News piece where the attorney acknowledged that they have no facts to back up their claim …

    Josh Boxer, an attorney behind the legal challenge, acknowledged his San Rafael, California-based Mills Law Firm is not basing its claims on independent testing of Anheuser-Busch products taken from store shelves.

    “We learned about the mislabelling from a number of former employees of AB (Anheuser-Busch) at breweries throughout the United States,” Boxer said. “And some high-level guys at the brewery level all told us that as a matter of AB corporate policy, these target brands are watered down.”
    I always get my best information from “some high-level guys at the brewery level.”

    John F. Hultquist wrote about 3.2 [%] beer in Ohio. Drinkers 18 and over were permitted to drink 3.2 beer and we sure drank a lot of it. Anything over 3.2% was reserved for 21 and over. It is possible to get very drunk on 3.2 beer. 18 year olds had to drive to New York State to legally drink the strong stuff. Which we did.

  17. adolfogiurfa says:

    The solution is related with Elegant Survival Cooking:
    1) Survival cooker
    2) Distiller for obtaining alcohol/whiskey
    3) Pot for cooking and making corn beer/ foods.
    So we will have food for the body, and spiritual beverages for the spirit.

  18. p.g.sharrow says:

    Excellent observation Adolfo. One more consideration while I rebuild my outdoor cooking area. As it has water and heat already. An old large pressure cooker from my junk pile would make a great pot still, pot. ;-) I seem to often make wine that is not worth keeping for later enjoyment of my friends. Fire Water is always useful and it keeps very well, even gets better with age. 8-) pg

  19. E.M.Smith says:


    There’s a youtube on making a still from a pressure cooker… it’s not hard.

    BTW, I think it gets cold enough where you are… Freeze separation of water gets proof up significantly… I’ve done it in the freezer as a test. Put in ‘fermented apple juice’, took out hard cider and some ice…

    Though frankly, every time I get in my car, now, I’m reminded of all that ‘waste heat’ and what can be done with a tractor worth… I’m certain I could harvest enough just from the exhaust header to produce all the ‘hooch’ I’d ever want. Heck, I make enough ‘short trips’ that I could process a pint or two a day and be more than satisfied. Load 2 gallons of ‘beer’ into the batch tub. Unload the pint from the ‘small condenser’ in front… Hardest issue being how to dump the 10% at the ‘start’ in a reliable way that gets the methanol out. Maybe two ‘catch cans’ and a lever… once 10% is out (for use as stove fuel) then swap over to ‘other uses’ catch can… Hard to beat ‘free distillation’…

  20. p.g.sharrow says:

    @EMSmith; separating out the “heads” and “tails from the “run” of ethanol is very important to finishing with a quality product. For fuel or sanitizer less effort is needed. pg

  21. Jason Calley says:

    You guys are probably aware that grits can be used to soak up some of the excess water from partially distilled alcohol. Zeolites do the same and can be reused after they are heated to drive off the water.

    By the way, I think that the formula for cast pyramid stones, the “geopolymers”, is a form of synthetic zeolite. I wonder if that would work for water removal?

  22. philjourdan says:

    I am a victim of 3.2 beer (it was the law where I went to College – 18-21 only got 3.2). That was after coming from a place that KNEW how to brew beer (Germany) in HS. And we often partook of Bock beer (I am not crazy about most bocks, but really liked the Binding Bock).

    Your description is very appropriate.

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    Didn’t know about using Grits that way… Hmmmm…..

    Probably makes for tasty grits, too ;-)

    Zeolites I knew about. ( “Molecular sieve” is an appropriate name). Didn’t realize it had reached the home market.

    SO THAT’S what they did with the Pyramids! No wonder they are so large! ;-)


    Once, on a ‘road trip’ at 18, me and my buddy did a circuit of the USA and part of Canada. We got “accquanted” with all the various drinking laws along the way. From “No Way” in California on up. At the Olympics in Canada, ordered very good Canadian beer in the stands. ( $1 each!)

    Down the east coast ran into 3.2 beer in some state. Virginia? Anyway, be bought what we could. 12 pack I think. We drank it. And peed. And drank and peed and drank and peed… and drove one more State over and got real beer… that’s where we stayed for the night. So thanks to 3.2 beer, one State lost a hotel stay and meals and the other one gained.

    Oddly, in some OTHER State… we pulled off the freeway for gas. While paying, I picked up a six-pack (having gotten used to buying beer – being a month or so into it – and got back in the car. About 4 miles down the road, “friend” says: “You can buy beer in this State?”… I realize I have no idea… not really sure what State it was… then or now. I was confident and they didn’t card me.


    I’m sure you CAN get drunk on 3.2 beer, but I didn’t have that much money nor can I pee that fast

    @M. Simon:

    Yeah… the “buy and bugger” is really annoying. Endless list of good products gone bad, then out of business. Whirlpool bought Maytag. Now Maytag is no longer a 20 year bulletproof product. Magic Chef too.

    On my “to do list” is to make a list of brands that are no longer what they were, and who’s still good.

    Yup. That’s what I’m slowly working toward…

    @Tim Clark:

    In the USA we have a rule that over some high percent alcohol it can not be called “Beer”. So just look for “Ale” on the label for the good stuff ;-) ( I think it’s about 6%+).

    Yeah, the Stout is good stuff, but I like it in a “Black and Tan” (Sacrilege I know… )


    In Euro terms, Gold is “not bad”, but as the $US is rising right now, for me it’s not a good choice.

    @Judy F:

    One of my favorite scenes of all time from one of my favorite movies… I had a “crush” on ‘Wednesday Friday Addams’ for a while after that… (Yes, I think I’d fit right in with The Addams Family… fire, toxins, things that go BOOM!, edges, … all good fun ;-)

    @Bloke Down The Pub:

    I’ve made my own beer. First time I did, I thought I’d failed as “It didn’t taste like Oly”. Only later did I find out I’d made a nice English Style medium ale… Since then my ‘sensory evaluation’ has been better educated ;-)

    Make the tax high enough, folks will just make there own. I’m back at that point now. (Have the kit and the goods. Just need to clear the space to set it up. Last batch was a couple of years ago and then I got busy in Florida…) It’s not hard to do.

    @J Ferguson:

    I’ve got no memory of such a quick “Yes, we tested and it is.” Frankly, all I remember is a lot of trotting out lawyers.

    @Another Ian:


    But they have to be counting water used to cool electric generating towers and make steel and… The actual beer making has maybe 2 x what ends in the product being used. Much of that for hosing out the tun and fermenter…

    @John F. Hultquist:

    We are blessed with several very good local brewpubs. From Gordon Biersch to Tied House to more… Part of why I’ve not made as much of my own is that theirs is so good. Tied House occasionally makes a Bock that comes with a warning and a limit of 2 per customer. I drank 2 once. They are right ;-) ( IIRC it was about 9%+ … )

  24. p.g.sharrow says:

    And an Excellent Bock it was :-) I must get around to brewing beer! I’ve made Mead, Wine and several kinds of brandy/whiskey. Hell of a note! I really prefer to drink beer. The good stuff that doesn’t have to be cold to be palatable. 8-) pg

  25. E.M.Smith says:


    It’s incredibly easy, especially if you already do wine.

    Start with the canned malt. Just add water, heat to sterilize and let cool. Pitch the yeast and wait.

    It’s drinkable at the end of the ferment with a little residual fizz and some yeast in it (as our ancestors undoubtedly drank theirs…) or you can let it finish to dry, then charge each bottle with a preset amount of sugar and load / cork it. Wait a few weeks and you have it done and fizzy. Old “sparkling cider” bottles work great. (As do any old empty beer bottles ;-)

    Once that is working OK, proceed to making your own wort. Buy malted barley, hops of your choice. Boil, cool and filter. Proceed as above.

    I’ve done it in a full on carboy and I’ve done it in a plastic “Mr. Beer”. It always makes beer for me. Heck, I even made it in a camp water jug once. (Had about a 4? gallon blue plastic thing with a spout that laid on its side). Just let it ferment most of the way with the bung loose, then put it in the fridge with the bung / lid closed. Just enough pressure to keep a bit of fizz as it ‘lagered’ for a month or so. Was pretty good beer, though toward the end it was getting a bit yeasty… and a touch of sour as they had run out of ‘food’ (sugar) and were starting to eat each other… and some air space was building up oxygen in the space above what little beer was left (catabolic metabolism…)

    Most Bev’Mo stores have the Mr. Beer and cans of malt syrup, if down here is any guide.

  26. philjourdan says:

    @E.M. – Carding back in the day was much more casual. Sometimes they did, sometimes they did not. I went to school in Ohio where they had the beer separated. Half the time they would card you, the other half they would not. Your attitude (not looking nervous) was probably why they thought you were of age.

    As far as I know, Virginia has not had 3.2 beer. They had a stratification of 18 for Beer and Wine, and 21 for hard liquor. I remember the first hard liquor I bought on my 21st birthday – it was for a friend. My fiance was PISSED – she wanted the first time to be for us. ;-)

    Virginia has/had very strange laws. All hard liquor is sold by the state, and until the 70s, you could not buy ANY (including beer and wine) on Sunday. Then you could not buy any before noon on Sunday (had to go to Church first). Then it was only for stores within 1/2 mile of a Church (that would never pass the Constitution test).

    But the weirdest laws still belonged to Utah. I went to a restaurant (on a business trip) and wanted a glass of wine with my meal. The waiter could not get it for me. I had to leave the restaurant, go to a state store (basically a converted closet) across the lobby from the restaurant, and buy a small bottle there, and then take it into the restaurant to enjoy with my meal.

  27. You Brits talking as if weak beer was something new. In the 1960s while playing Rugby for Coventry (where the beer was strong) it was always fun to entertain Cardiff (where the beer was weak).

    Early in the evening after the game there would be large Welsh bodies lying all over the place, so we ended up carrying them back to their bus for the trip home!

  28. E.M.Smith says:


    Nice ;-)


    On that same trip, headed toward the Olympics, we passed through Iowa. Checked into the hotel. Decided to ‘get some food and such’. Went to the local store. Various things were covered and could not be sold. Booze and such? Right out. But what surprised me was I wanted to buy some trivial “tool”. A brush or some such. “Can’t sell tools on the day of rest.” said the clerk… The “Blue Laws” in Iowa were very bizarre then… (early ’70s). So instead of “lunch fixings and cleaning stuff with some beer” (as we’d been on the road camping from the car for a few days we wanted to clean up us and the car before visiting my relatives) we instead bought soda, ham, bread and that was that… IIRC, what made it even ore bizarre was that it was something like ‘after 7 pm on Saturday’ and not even officially Sunday. Seems they decided the Sabbath started at sundown or God Only Knows what… (I could have that quite wrong… I was too busy being stunned and pissed at the Big Stupid to bother learning ‘the rules’… instead with just saw family for 1/2 day the next day and ‘booked it out of Crazy Land’ for Chicago… )

    Glad such things are increasingly in the past… (Though Mayor Bloomberg seems cut from the same Stupid Rules mould…)

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