Anheuser-Busch recalls European beer in glass

The nation's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch, last month recalled nearly six million bottles of beer in 12 European countries because of safety concerns.

The St. Louis-based company admitted that it had received 10 consumer complaints about shards of glass when the bottles were opened.

After A-B looked into the problem, it discovered worn molds at two glass bottle suppliers, Vicasa in Spain and Barbosa Almeda in Portugal. The mold wear causes the top thread to be oversized, and it could break off when the consumer removes the twist-off closure.

The recall affects 25- and 33-cL bottle sizes of Budweiser or Bud brands that were filled at A-B's brewery in Spain, and display a "best before" date of Aug. 15, 2000. The recall affects bottles sold in Spain and Portugal, but also countries as distant as Sweden and Latvia. Company officials in London issued a formal apology to retailers and consumers and indicated the two bottle plants are working to resolve the problem. "We also have implemented additional quality checks on bottles in the brewery," said William McNulty, vice president of A-B European Trade.

In addition, Packaging World learned that a team of U.S. executives, including packaging developers was dispatched to Europe from St. Louis by company president August Busch. The company apparently wants to avoid the market backlash suffered by Coca-Cola Co. earlier this year when it failed to respond promptly to a European health issue with its products.

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