Anheuser-Busch's 'Ritas' Don't Contain Actual Tequila, So Anyone Who Drank Them May Be Eligible for Compensation

The beer giant agreed to settle a class action lawsuit which argued it wasn't clear that "Ritas" don't include any spirits.

RITAS Straw-Ber-Rita and Passion Fruit-Rita
Photo: PJiiiJane / Shutterstock

With the current (or possibly already waning) craze for hard seltzers and canned cocktails, it's interesting to consider that Anheuser-Busch may have been ahead of the curve. A decade ago, in 2012, the beer giant launched Bud Light Lime-A-Rita, originally a brand extension of their 2008 surprise hit, Bud Light Lime. Anheuser-Busch's "Ritas" — sparkling, 8 percent ABV, malt beverages available in a range of margarita-like flavors — have since lost the "Bud Light" from their moniker, but the Ritas have remained popular enough to stick around.

Yet, despite that longevity, the brand did face a legal bump along the road. And if you've drank any of Anheuser-Busch's Ritas products since 2018, you could be eligible for free money, even without a proof of purchase.

Back in 2020, a class action lawsuit was filed against the brewer claiming that Anheuser-Busch was misleading consumers into believing that these cocktail-inspired products actually contained spirits. "Nowhere on the packaging did [the plaintiff] see a disclaimer or any other statement indicating that the margarita product does not contain tequila, or that the product is just a flavored beer," the original complaint stated, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

Two years later, a settlement has been reached. Last month, despite admitting no wrongdoing, Anheuser-Busch agreed to end litigation by financially compensating eligible consumers who had purchased Rita products and by altering the language used to sell these products, according to the site Top Class Actions.

Then, this week, the claims process opened. On the site, anyone who purchased any Ritas product in the U.S. for personal consumption from January 1, 2018, to July 19, 2022 can fill out a claim form until December 16. A total of 112 different Rita-branded products are included in the settlement. Consumers with a proof of purchase can claim up to $21.25 per household, but even without a proof of purchase, a claim can be made for a refund up to $9.75.

That said, as Top Class Action points out, to get full compensation, you'll need to have drunk a lot of Ritas. Payments are reportedly based on the type of products purchased, and, for instance, for 8-ounce cans, consumers can receive $0.30 per four-pack or $0.60 per 24-pack. It leaves a big question: If you're claiming a full refund because you'd purchased, say, 36 cases of Lime-A-Ritas for personal consumption, can you really say you weren't familiar enough with the product to know it doesn't contain tequila? But hey, I'm not here to judge, that's what the federal court is for.

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