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Are they selling watered-down beer at CenturyLink Field?

SEATTLE -- Mike Rosa knows a little thing about alcohol. After all, he's standing outside CenturyLink Field with a Sounders cape wrapped around his neck and a coffee tumbler with a hidden Bloody Mary inside.


"Try as you may. We'll get around it," he said of the restrictive policies toward outside beverages at the stadium.

The problem for Rosa is that he can trust the alcohol outside more than he can inside CenturyLink Field.

The beer at the center of Seattle sports universe appears to be watered down.

In two different undercover trips, the Problem Solvers collected six samples of draft beer from concession stands for a Seahawks and Sounders game. We wanted to see if the beers had a higher or lower alcohol content.

We worked with IEH Labs in Seattle and followed their strict instructions, using small vials to hold a few ounces of beer and then keeping them cool, either in a refrigerator inside bags packed with ice.

We dropped off the samples and within a few days we had our answers with the six beers we tested.

Stella Artois:
5.0% advertised ABV
4.8% tested

Bud Light:
4.2% advertised
3.9% tested

Redhook Brewery No Equal:
5.2% advertised
4.8% tested

Shocktop:
5.2% advertised
4.7% tested

Bass Pale Ale:
5.1% advertised
4.5% tested

Budweiser:
5.0% advertised
4.4% tested

Fans were disappointed when told of the news.

"It's money, man. Greed. Same thing as everybody else. What makes the world go around? Money," said James Walker.

Federal law prohibits alcohol providers from selling beer that is less than 0.3% below the advertised content.

The Problem Solvers went right to the source at CenturyLink Field to get answers. The company refused to share any contracts with vendors and the concessionaire Delaware North Sports Service.

Anheuser-Busch did contact KOMO 4 but chose not to participate in a formal interview. They directly own five of the six beers tested.

Their representative questioned that data and testing method, writing in a statement that the beer at CenturyLink Field is the same you can "purchase at bars, restaurants, convenience stores and other retail locations." Anheuser-Busch said it "strictly" follows all federal rules and did its own test and "found no irregularities" in alcohol content.

Woodinville's Redhook Brewery said it has never been asked by a vendor to water down beer and that to do so would "deceive beer drinkers" and would "violate standards and protocols."

IEH said that there could be a drop in alcohol content during the process of testing, but that would not fully explain these results. They were clear that the results are off enough to absolutely merit more testing and investigation.

The discrepancies are not limited to Seattle.

In 2008, a local paper in San Diego outed Petco Park for using "stadium kegs" -- intentionally watered down versions of beers in order to keep crowds from getting unruly.

We asked Delaware North, Anheuser-Busch and CenturyLink multiple times about any possible use of stadium kegs and got few specifics.

The Padres wouldn't talk either.

Fans like Rosa and others will continue to pack their skepticism when they head past the gates.
And maybe drink a little less inside.

"Now I guess we'll pre-funk a little bit more," said fan Jocelyn Seaman.

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