Update: 6/11/2014 9:30pm – There are over 24k signatures and counting. We received some major national news coverage today with formal responses from Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors. Please see links below, share the news and sign the petition!
ABC News – What’s in Your Beer? Fish Bladder and Antifreeze Ingredient?
USA Today – Beer Giants Pushed To List Ingredients
Chicago Tribune – Blogger starts campaign to reveal beer’s ‘controversial’ ingredients
Chicago Business Journal – The Food Babe wants answers from MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch
Today, I’m launching a petition to ask Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors, America’s largest beer brands to disclose their full set of ingredients online for all consumers to see.
Nearly every other food and beverage provider is legally required to make this information available—yet these two companies, which collectively sell more than $75 billion in beers each year, have not. I grew concerned about the beer after discovering there is a long list of additives the government has approved for use in beer during an investigation last fall. High fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, stabilizers that are linked to intestinal inflammation, artificial colors – like caramel coloring, ingredients found in airplane deicing liquid, genetically modified ingredients, and even fish swim bladders are allowed in beer.
We’re coming up on the 4th of July holiday, a weekend during which millions of Americans will consume Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors products—and nobody knows what’s in their drinks. It’s shocking that these companies don’t disclose their ingredients, but it’s even more shocking that millions of us – including my own husband – continue to blindly drink these beers without knowing what’s actually in them. I think we deserve to be told the facts.
The Treasury Department (TTB) regulates beer – not the FDA – so beer manufacturers like Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors are not required to put the ingredients on the label – or on their website. After finding out that we know more about what’s in a bottle of Windex and Coca-Cola than we do one of the world’s most popular drinks, beer; I knew I needed to bring this subject to light.
Transparency is all I’m asking for — just tell us what we’re drinking.
Let’s end the #MysteryBeer together, please join and sign the petition here.
Even if you don’t drink beer, it’s still important to care about this issue. This petition has the ability to open up the Pandora’s box of hidden beverage additive secrets for the whole world to finally see.
Cheers to an honest future,
P.S. We’ve changed the world together before, let’s do it again, please don’t delay and join us here.
Watch the video:
123 responses to “Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors: Tell Us What’s In Your Beer!”
Dear Food Babe, this initiative could be the best thing to happen to the beer business ever. I really appreciate it.
I do not work in the beer business any longer, in case anyone thinks I am defending the big breweries for personal reasons.
I believe the big breweries will be the first companies to comply with your incredibly reasonable requests. It’s time for the little brewers to confess.
Tell us what’s in your beer – there are a lot of good German beers out there and others as well -change or people will go elsewhere – we want to know what we’re drinking!
This is my last post: Many small brewers have more courage than brains.
Great book on the subject from many years ago! http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/089329098X/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used
I love how she picked a product that has a famously top secret formula as an example. Hilarious.
I have been a long time drinker of German beer after a close friend of a large American brewery informed me they make beer in two hours by an accelerated process (using chemicals) I will never drink American crap again
That is not possible. You have been misinformed.
We’ll in fact it is possible I have been brewing beer at home for quite some time and you can make fast beer by boiling a premix, producing the wart then (30 min) fast cooling it and then poring in the vodka…. Walaa. You have American beer. Tasts very much like some big name beers
That is not beer. If you are adding vodka by definition you are not longer making beer.
Even the German beers that comply to the Reinheitsgebot are allowed to contain additives that are not reqired to be labeled.
Why not establish some purity standards? Or even some self declared rules? Like we have in Germany? The german “Reinheitsgebot” for beer states water (pure, NO additives, please) , hops (be it the hops or a hops concentrate), malt (not only barley), and yeast. N O T H I N G E L S E . This is basically valid until today, breweries stick to it and sell their beer accordingly labeled.
However, this rules out some fancy modern beers.
“We proudly observe beer purity rules!”, “We proudly obey the Reinheitsgebot” — That could be a thing for brewers in the US, too, to win back customer’s confidence and trust.
Smaller breweries already have adopted it at some places in the US, it seems.
My 2 cent, Uwe
Not only barley? Concentrates? READ THE REINHEITSGEBOT!
German brewers were afraid of the emergence of foreign wheat beers. That is when the Reinheitsgebot was written.
Take the German purity law as an example, America!
The German “purity” law from hundreds of years ago means nothing. It was meant to keep foreign beers from being sold in Germany. Do some research, and don’t trust modern marketing. What did they know about “purity” hundreds of years ago that has escaped us today? C’mon!! American consumers are ignorant!
Can we also demand the ingredient lists of wines and liquors?
Jphyder, THAT is fake beer.
Jphyder, your understanding of beer, a dignified and historical element of human culture that has existed since the Sumerians invented it, is no better than your grasp of the English language. I normally wouldn’t respond to such an ignorant comment, but I couldn’t help myself in this case. Ease off on the vodka. Your epidermis is showing.
There is a lot of misinformation flying around here. Firstly, rice does not make a beer “fake”. It makes it an adjunct lager. This style was developed in American near its inception when 6 row barley was type that was grown. It has a significantly higher protein content and corn was used to cut down the protein. As rice cultivation picked up so did its use as a protein cutting adjunct. If you ever see a beer marketed as a Classic American Pilsener or Pre-Prohibition Lager, both of these often contain such adjuncts and can be delicious. Two of my favorite beers I make are a Classic American Pilsener and a Pre-prohibition Bock. Both are 100 year old recipes and both contain a lot of corn. The Premium American lagers produced by the Macro brewers these days are the little cousins of this and are not nearly as good, but are definitely beer.
As far as the 2 hour speed brewing mentioned above, yes that is true. They do use a “chemical” to speed up their starch to sugar conversion process. It is called amalayse. It occurs naturally in barely and without it there would be no beer. They add extra to speed up the process for bud light, it’s complicated why, but basically in order to get a beer that dry you need to either add a lot of time or a lot of extra amalayse. I am not a fan of bud light, but I do have to tip my hat at the ingenuity and skill it takes to make a beer with that little flavor. Also, someone mentioned malt extract, that is not cost effective at all for a large brewer, though some brewpubs and microbreweries use it.
Fish bladders. Totally safe and practically none of it ends up in your beer. It is used to settle out the yeast by bonding to it and settling to the bottom. It is very popular in Britain and is way too expensive and time consuming for the Macro guys to use. That’s what filtration and the “beachwood aging” process is for.
Genetically modified ingredients. The most popular GMO in beer is the yeast. A lot of yeast has been genetically modified (mainly the ABV beers), but not Budweiser’s. In fact notable beer and homebrew writer Charlie Papazian’s favorite yeast is the Budweiser strain. If you pick up his book “Microbrewed Adventures” he has a great story about how he got it. I have heard muddering of GMO barley in beer, but I can’t confirm it. Budweiser uses Willamette hops, which are actually pretty good and have been cultivated for a very long time. If you are concerned with GMOs, talk to a geneticist and ask a lot of questions. Humans have been altering nature to produce food for centuries. There was even a time where people were afraid of Apples from a grafted tree (at least I read that somewhere at some point).
I am curious if they are going to say the ingredients in the final product or everything used in the whole process. I noticed that they didn’t mention beachwood which they use to speed up clearing and lagering.
At the end of the day if you want to know what is in your beer, make it yourself.
Matt, your comment is spot on. Except I believe I read somewhere that the beechwood chips are actually aluminum or steel these days. In any event, even if they are still wood, they’ve been treated in such a way as to make them inert, and they contribute nothing to the beer aside from the function you described – to help keep the yeast in suspension.
Yes–by all means tell us exactly what is in our beer–including all the byproducts of fermentation: Diacetyl and the related compound pentanedione are produced from yeast metabolites that are secreted into beer – it is always produced during fermentation. Diacetyl and pentanedione together are called vicinal diketones (VDK) because they contain two ketone (oxo-) groups on adjacent (vicinal) carbon atoms. They occur as two significant by-products of fermentation because their oxo-hydroxy precursors can pass through the yeast cell membrane into the beer. The precursor of diacetyl is alpha-acetolactate and the precursor of 2,3pentanedione is alpha–ketobutyrate. These hydroxyl acid precursors are produced as intermediates in the biosynthesis of the amino acids valine (for diacetyl) and isoleucine (for pentanedione). Once in beer, the amino acids spontaneously undergo oxidative decarboxylation to yield the diketones which means that the decomposing of the precursors to diketones is a chemical reaction –no enzymes are involved.
To those wanting the smaller breweries to “come clean”- just go tour one. I have visited many of them. They are practically giddy to tell you their basic ingredients. (And no, I don’t work for any brewery. I am a homebrewer and I have reached out to commercial breweries on numerous occasions to ask their brewmasters for advice. As a rule, the men and women in the craft beer industry love questions, provided that you ask nicely and don’t act like they are guilty until proven innocent.)
But to help the uniformed out, beer making is relatively free of strange ingredients because yeast don’t like a toxic environment. Yeast like sugar- preferably sugar obtained from a malted grain which has been “mashed” at a suitable temperature to allow the natural enzymes to convent complex starches to simpler ones. Then, the mix is boiled to kill off all other microbes and then chilled so that the yeast may move in and do their thing.
Worried about HFCS? Don’t be. Most brewers won’t touch the stuff because it doesn’t add flavor- and the ones who do, well, the yeast eat all the HFCS, leaving behind CO2 (bubbles) and alcohol.
Now the worries over fish bladders- yes, proteins derived from fish bladders are used by some breweries to allow other proteins to bond with them and settle out of the finished beer. They don’t just chop up fish bladders and toss them in and even if they did, again, the point is to cause proteins to drop out of solution. You aren’t drinking fish bladders. That’s just a misunderstanding of the beer making process.
Now, for you vegans out there, I realize that you object to animal by-products being used. Simply ask the breweries if they use an animal-based clarifying agent or not. They will GLADLY tell you. Craft breweries aren’t trying to sneak animal parts into the glass of vegans. There is no grand conspiracy. There are breweries who use veggie-derived gelatin to clarify. Others filter their beer. Then there are styles like Hefewiesen where you cloudy beer is a-ok.
The point is that if you are a vegan, you can find a suitable beer fairly easily.
And most of all- if you really want to know what is in your beer, brew your own. It’s not hard and you might develop a brand new appreciation for the artisanship of the professional brewing community.
It would be nice to see a list (if one exists) of Domestic beers that do not use additives, it would be best for the big brewers to see that there is a market for the real stuff.
Vani, I have a severe allergic reaction to sulpha drugs. I have also noticed bud light beer also will give me a reaction to a lesser degree. I am wondering if it is the medicine I am allergic to or some kind of sulpha additive that has been put into the medicine, the same as you are saying is added to beer. What do you think?
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I’ve been wondering about this subject too.
I also would like to know about the ingredients being put into, Vodka, Whiskey, Scotch and Wine.
We need to force the FDA to take action, and stop receiving kickbacks!
As we all know alcohol is a Poison but with all the breweries adding the same chemicals and this aircraft Deicing Agent which takes it to whole new level.
A smart person that can connect the dots realizes the Plan, the agenda of the Federal Government which the Treasury is very much apart of is to make sure those who have Bad Habits and Alcohole is one of them, this is the Best Way to Illiminate them in due time.
That’s right, eugenics… I’ve friends who consum and everyone is in there Mid to Late Fifties. They have Blood in there Bowels and Urin, their Skin for no reason Breaks, it bleeds and puss come out. Their Liver is bad.
I’ve been spared, any type of Alcohole, the smallest amount ingested makes me Violently ill so I’ve never been able to Drink.
My hat is Off to you, for your commitment to the American Who are Being Poisoned and don’t have a Clue.. Keep up the Good Work…!!!!!!!!!!!
Last comment, what’s in the Wine and Liquor, because if Beer is this Bad the other type have to be the Same Way????