The “vanilla vigilante” just picked up another win.
A&W Concentrate Company and its parent company Keurig Dr Pepper will be required to pay consumers $15 million after a recent class action lawsuit, according to court documents.
The suit, filed in the New York District Court in 2020, alleges that A&W’s “Made with Aged Vanilla” packaging claim is misleading. The plaintiffs allege that the company’s root beer contains ethyl vanillin, an artificial flavoring, instead of the real spice. A&W and Keurig Dr Pepper continue to deny any wrongdoing and chose to settle the suit to “avoid further expense, inconvenience, and interference with ongoing business operations,” the filing states.
The case’s three plaintiffs were represented by none other than attorney Spencer Sheehan, the aptly nicknamed “vanilla vigilante” involved in a string of flavoring-related suits. In January, Sheehan represented a consumer in a high-profile lawsuit against Fireball’s parent company.
Under the settlement’s terms, American households can claim up to $25 for A&W Root Beer or Cream Soda — including diet and zero sugar varieties — purchased between Feb. 7, 2016, and June 2, 2023. Consumers can receive $5.50 without proof of purchase and can claim an extra 50 cents per item with documentation. Buyers can file a claim on a dedicated website, according to ClassAction.org. (The site was not live at the time of this story’s publication.)
Payout dates will be determined based on the settlement’s final approval hearing, which is scheduled for Sept. 18.