A&W Lawsuit: Root Beer and Cream Soda Vanilla False Advertising $15M Class Action Settlement

A&W, a root beer and cream soda chain, has faced legal scrutiny for misleading marketing practices. It was founded by Allen and Frank Wright. The chain has maintained its independent operation in Canada. Furthermore, it has distinguished itself as Allen & Wright Restaurants.

What does A&W Stand for?

First of all, we must know what A&W actually stands for. Allen teamed up with Frank Wright, a former employee of Lodi. They leased their first two Root Beer stands to other operators so they could expand into the larger city of Sacramento. This was around the same time the partners coined the new name A&W. “A” for Allen & “W” for Wright.

Now come to the history of A&W. It was believed that their services were acquired by Unilever Canada Limited in 1972. Since that time, A&W has always been owned and operated in Canada independently.

A&W is also called Allen & Wright Restaurants. It was an American fast-food restaurant chain distinguished by its burgers, draft root beer, and root beer floats.

Furthermore, Keurig Dr Pepper (a beverage company in North America) makes cream soda, a type of soda. It was introduced in America in 1986. Other products in this category include A&W Root Beer and Dr. Pepper. Amazingly, Root beer typically had a unique flavor described as sweet and herbal, with notes of vanilla, molasses, and mint. However, the accurate flavor differs among brands or batches. Notably, the rich, creamy A&W Root Beer contained no alcohol.

A&W Lawsuit

Was A&W Root Beer in Legal Trouble for Misleading Marketing?

Soda firms create a variety of catchphrases through their marketing teams that convince you to buy their drinks. For instance, you might have heard slogans like “Taste the Feeling!” from Coke, “Do the Dew!” from Mountain Dew, and “Rise up, baby!” from Pepsi. However, they are not permitted to include false information on the label.

It was reported that A&W Root Beer was recently hit with a class-action lawsuit for doing just that. If you bought an A&W root beer or cream soda product with a “Made with Aged Vanilla” label between Feb. 7, 2016, and June 2, 2023.

News5Cleveland claims that the term “aged vanilla” was the issue. The A&W lawsuit affirms that the description of the vanilla sweetener in the soda was inaccurate. It’s actually made mostly with ethyl vanillin, an artificial vanilla flavor.

A&W stated in the preliminary settlement “The purchasers did not pay a ‘premium’ for the Products as a result of any misrepresentations.” However, A&W and Keurig Dr. Pepper accepted the payment of  $15 million to be distributed among the consumers.

Having said that a New York judge has preliminarily approved a settlement to proceed involving A&W Concentrate Company and Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. According to Joseph Lamour in Today, the lawsuit targets company-produced beverages which were labeled “made with aged vanilla” even if the flavoring in the soda was actually artificial.

Who was Eligible for the Settlement?

According to OpenClassActions, if you purchased one of the following products between Feb. 7, 2016, and June 2, 2023, you were eligible for an A&W lawsuit. It was asked to note that in order to qualify, the products had to say “made with aged vanilla” and be intended for personal use only.

  • A&W root beer (Regular)
  • A&W root beer (Diet)
  • A&W root beer (Zero Sugar)
  • A&W root beer (Ten)
  • A&W cream soda (Regular)
  • A&W cream soda (Diet)
  • A&W cream soda (Zero Sugar)

It was mentioned in Sharpe, et al. v. A&W Concentrate Co et al. that you might be qualified to receive a small amount of money from the $15 million settlement. It was also asked to claim before the deadline on 10/18/2023. Furthermore, the Class Counsel for this case was Michael R. Reese from REESE LLP. The Defense Counsel was Russ Falconer from GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER LLP.

A&W Lawsuit

How Much A$W Owed for the Lawsuit?

It was stated that once a claim was submitted, you might be placed in one of the three categories. Whether you have proof of purchase will determine them. It’s essential to understand that the lawsuit has a $15 million cap. It simply means that your payment may be lowered to ensure that the settlement amount does not exceed $15 million.

Now let’s talk about customers who fall in Category 1. These users were able to claim without proof of purchase. In this case, they would get $ 5.50 per household.

Despite this, Category 2 was mixed, for claims that did and didn’t have proof of purchase. If you fit into this mixed category, you would receive an extra 50 cents for each product that has legitimate proof of purchase in addition to a guaranteed minimum payment of $5.50. With evidence of purchase, you could claim up to 39 units for a maximum payment of $25 (which includes the $5.50 minimum).

Category 3 was for claims supported by proof of purchase. In this particular, scenario, a minimum of $5.50 was guaranteed, and you would receive 50 cents for each unit you submit beyond 11. With proof of purchase, you might submit up to 50 units for a maximum of $25 (which includes the $5.50 minimum).

Did They Pay the Owed Amount?

According to Topclassactions, the A&W Lawsuit is closed now. The court granted this settlement final approval on Nov. 15, 2023. Moreover, the final hearing date was changed to Oct. 19, 2023.  It was mentioned that any payments would go out after that date. Therefore, you might not have to wait for A&W to buy your next 12-pack.


Ultimately, neither Keurig Dr. Pepper nor A&W Root Beer have acknowledged that they mislabeled any of their products or deceived any consumers. As of ClassAction, the corporations settled “to avoid further expense, inconvenience, and interference with ongoing business operations, in addition to letting the A&W lawsuits go “. Thus, it was considered that A&W did not label any of their cream sodas or root beers as “Made With Aged Vanilla.”

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