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NEW YORK -- Miller Brewing Co. filed a lawsuit in Milwaukee District Court Friday against Anheuser-Busch, claiming the rival beer-maker defaced its products and "engaged in false or misleading advertising activities," reported CNN.com.
Miller spokesman Mike Hennick claimed that Bud Light stickers were placed on packages of Miller Lite. In a meeting held Thursday with a Milwaukee federal judge and the two companies, Hennick said that Anheuser-Busch had agreed to investigate and immediately stop any defacing of Miller's products -- if its company's employees are actually behind the alleged activity.
Miller also accused the St. Louis-based brewery of publishing misleading advertisements that claimed Miller is based in South Africa. One ad that appeared in the May 20 edition of USA Today showed a bottle of Miller Lite with the phrase: "Miller Lite -- Queen of Carbs, South African owned," next to it. Hennick said the ad was misleading because SABMiller is based in London, and South African-based Miller Brewing is only a subsidiary of the company.
Miller has launched an aggressive ad campaign in recent months, touting its product as the "president of beers." One ad features a mock presidential debate with a top Miller official going up against a Clydesdale, the horse made famous by Budweiser.
Anheuser-Busch has fought back by reverting to a classic: the lizards in the swamp. In one ad, one of the lizards notes Miller's South African roots, making it ineligible for the presidency.
"All we did was point out that they were South African owned," Katz said. "Apparently, for whatever reason, they are very sensitive about their heritage, and they have chosen to take this matter to court."
According to the Miller Web site, South African Breweries purchased Miller Brewing Co. in July 2002, "forming one of the largest brewers in the world, called SABMiller plc, with a volume of more than 130 million barrels, operations in 40 countries and hundreds of brands."