Preliminary settlement brewing in beer drinkers' lawsuit

The world's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, has reached a preliminary settlement with a group of beer drinkers, reports CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers.

The lawsuit claimed Anheuser-Busch used deceptive labeling to mislead customers into believing the Beck's beer sold in the U.S. was made in Germany when in fact, it is being brewed in St. Louis, Missouri.

On Tuesday, a federal judge gave preliminary approval for a settlement that includes a refund to customers who bought Beck's beer beginning in May 2011.

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Beck's customers who have receipts can get a refund of up to $50. Refunds are capped at $12 for those without receipts.

A website will be created so people can file electronically. The suit's three original plaintiffs will get up to $5,000 each.

Anheuser Busch agreed to pay $3.5 million in legal fees but, as part of the settlement, it denies any wrongdoing.

"We believe our labeling, packaging and marketing of Beck's have always been truthful, transparent and in compliance with all legal requirements. A-B brews Beck's to the highest-quality standards, and is proud to employ the finest American brew masters to produce Beck's for the U.S. market," the company's statement said.

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"Beer isn't ketchup. I mean, there's a romance about beer. There's a whole lot of people who drank Beck's and they thought their beer came from Germany," Bloomberg Businessweek staff writer Devin Leonard said.

He said the people who sued felt like they'd been ripped off.

"A-B and Beck's position is that, 'We are the world's biggest beer company. We have big brewers. It's just a recipe. You know, you brew it in Germany, you brew it in Baldwinsville, New York, you brew it in St. Louis -- it's the same thing,"' Leonard said. "But I think for these people who sued, it's not the same thing. It's not the same water and it just doesn't have the same mystique."

The law firm representing the three original plaintiffs released a statement on the settlement.

"We are pleased to achieve this excellent settlement for Beck's beer purchasers, with changes to packaging and labels that make clear Beck's is brewed in the U.S. We hope the leadership that Anheuser-Busch has shown in settling this case leads to change throughout the industry," it said.

Beck's isn't the only beer brewed in the U.S. that many think are produced on foreign soil.

Japanese-style beer Kirin Ichiban is made in Virginia and California. Bass Ale, whose slogan is "The original English pale ale," is actually brewed in New York. Red Stripe, originally from Jamaica, has been brewed in Wisconsin since 2012. And Foster's Australian beer is made in Texas.