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Anheuser-Busch to reimburse 'Rita' drinkers after a class action lawsuit

"Rita" fanatics could be eligible for free money from Anheuser-Busch even without proof of purchase... but it's not a big payout.

WASHINGTON — Longtime fans of the sparkling alcoholic beverage "Rita," known for it's margarita-like flavors, could be financially reimbursed thanks to a class action lawsuit.

Nearly a decade ago, the "Rita" beverages launched onto the scene under Bud Light, igniting the path for the hard seltzers craze. Since then, the alcoholic drink has remained popular, despite losing the Bud Light name. 

The brand underwent a legal setback when a class action lawsuit came about in 2020, claiming the company was falsely advertising to consumers that its drinks contained alcohol other than beer.

"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 said, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

Last month, Anheuser-Busch agreed to settle the suit after two years of litigation by financially reimbursing consumers who had purchased the sparking alcoholic beverage. The company denied the claims of any wrongdoing.

“The parties have come to an agreement to resolve this matter,” an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson told TODAY. “We do not have any additional details to share at this time.”

The company will be altering the branding language on these products, according to Top Class Actions, a website tracking class action news. Per the settlement website, the drink will be rebranded as a "malt beverage" and include a disclaimer about it not containing distilled spirits.

The website allows a "settlement class member," a person who purchased one of the 112 different "Rita" drinks for consumption, to file a reimbursement claim. The catch? You had to have bought the drinks for yourself from Jan. 1, 2018 through July 19, 2022, the website says. 

Consumers who can provide a proof of purchase can get up to $21.25 per household, according to the settlement. Without proof of purchase, consumers can still get a refund up to $9.75 per household. 

The payment amount varies by the size of and package size of the drinks. For example, the company will pay 60 cents for a singular 8 oz. can of a 24-pack. 

The company considers any receipts, copies of receipts, and paid invoices as proof of purchase. Consumers have until Dec. 16 to file a claim. 

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