AUSTRALIA: Big Brewhaha Over Foster’s Beer

JAMES ROYCE WRITES — Cracking open a cold one is a beloved tradition down under, but one U.S. man is calling into question the Aussie integrity of Foster’s lager.

Leif Nelson, a self-proclaimed New York City beer aficionado, has filed a lawsuit against Miller Brewing Co. in U.S. District Court. Nelson claims that the company’s advertising for Foster’s misleads consumers into believing the beer is actually brewed in Australia.

Several companies own marketing rights to Foster’s, including Heineken International in Europe, and SABMiller in India and the U.S.. But the actual brewing operations were moved to MillerCoors’ Fort Worth, Texas facilities in 2011 to save money.

“Consumers believe they are purchasing beer imported from Australia brewed with Australian ingredients, when, in fact, they are purchasing beer brewed in Fort Worth, Texas, with ingredients from the United States,” Nelson’s suit states. “In fact, the packaging for Foster’s contains multiple references to Australian culture and symbols including an image of a red Kangaroo, the national symbol of Australia, and the Southern Cross constellation.”

The suit highlights the company’s use of advertising slogans like, ‘Foster’s Australian for Beer,’ and, ‘How to Speak Australian,’ as well the use of actors with Australian accents.

A spokesman for MillerCoors told the New York Post that the company denies Nelson’s claims and actually, “employs an Australian brewmaster so that the beer tastes as true to its origin as possible.”      

Nelson, a physical therapist, said he started drinking Foster’s in 2012, and in January learned the awful truth. The suit does not specifically mention how much Foster’s he’s quaffed in that time.

Bizarrely, Nelson is still a satisfied customer, and says he will continue drinking the Foster’s if MillerCoors accurately labels it in the future.

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