Budweiser tries putting same old beer in new cans
The bowtie-shaped 11.3-ounce container can't hide the fact that Bud sales have slid steeply in recent years.
Parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) has watched Budweiser's marketplace slide for a good, long while now. In 2011, MolsonCoors' (TAP) flagship product Coors Light replaced Bud as the No. 2 beer in the country, breaking the grip A-B held on the Top 2 since 1993.
While Coors Light sales grew 9% in the five years prior, Bud sales tanked 29%. It has lost more than 60% of its sales since its 50 million-barrel peak in 1988, when it accounted for more than 25% of all beer sold in the U.S. For some perspective, Budweiser once held market share close to that now held by both Miller and Coors brands combined (27%).
To combat this, A-B has commissioned its canning facility in Newburgh, N.Y., to make Budweiser cans shaped like bowties to claw back some of its lost sales. The cans are crimped in the middle, sold in eight-packs and hold 11.3 ounces of beer compared to the 12 found in regular cans. Always looking on the bright side, A-B notes that the missing 0.7 ounces knocks 8.5 calories off the content.
Budweiser could use a bit more of that one-sided optimism. Until Beer Marketer's Insights reported an estimated 0.6% uptick in Anheuser-Busch InBev sales for 2012, the big brewer had seen sales drop each year since 2008.
It has thrown just about everything at the wall trying to stop the bleeding. It has introduced "premium" brands like Budweiser Select, Budweiser American Ale, Bud Light Platinum, Budweiser Black Crown and Bud Light Lime margarita flavors. It purchased Chicago-based small brewer Goose Island from the Craft Brew Alliance (BREW) last year. It's hosting its "Made In America" music festival in Philadelphia this August with Beyonce and Nine Inch Nails, and it has been sponsoring pop culture site A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover performances in an attempt to get younger audiences to drink its declining brand.
Recently, it ran afoul of the Justice Department in a bid to take over Mexico-based Corona maker Modelo and was forced to redo the deal and give up U.S. distribution of Modelo products. The deal comes as imports and small American craft brewers take an increasing share of big brewers' market share and profits.
MolsonCoors' Miller brands have faced similar issues. According to AdAge, Vince Vaughn, "Hangover III" co-star Ken Jeong, former mixed martial arts star Chuck Lidell and drummer Questlove from The Roots are all slated to appear in a new round of Miller Lite ads. It's a step away from the Miller Lite "man up" campaign and a nod to the brand's "Miller Lite All-Stars" glory days of the mid-'70s and '80s.
Miller Lite's parent company also hopes a new bottle available only in bars and restaurants starting in May will help stop the slide.
As Boston Beer Co. (SAM) joins other craft brewers like Oskar Blues, 21st Amendment, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium by putting Samuel Adams in cans this summer, those breweries and their growing consumer base will only add to the pressures that have pushed A-B to squeeze its cans in the middle.
Budweiser was a great beer until Anheuser-Busch sold out to a foreign brewer. Since then, the new owners have done all they can to get their $h|t beer on the shelves and slowly kill the American beers. Stell Artois is the worst f*(king beer there is. Tastes like horse piss and probably is.
Now they go with this stupid bowtie can to reduce the volume of liquid yet charge the same price. Makes more money for the foreigners. Americans have no pride and will sell to the highest bidder outside the USA. Traitors!
Well, I've been a Bud drinker for many more years than I care to think about but I damn sure won't buy a can that has less beer in it than before just because it is crimped in the middle. The person that came up with that idea and the entire team that approved it should all be fired. Their beer has gotten weak, watery and smells pissy.
I'll spend more for a craft beer when I want a single or two. Think I'll go back to Miller for the weekends. It was a good beer in the 70's.
Here's less beer, but you get this funny shaped can...
Unfortunately, all too many people will fall for the trick.
Go drink a real beer.
They are both f%&#ing close to water.
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