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Bud pushes free samples in ad campaign

Anheuser-Busch plans a national happy hour Sept. 29, plus a month of free samples, in hopes of winning over younger drinkers.

By Teresa Mears Sep 22, 2010 1:45PM

Have we become such a nation of snobs that we've abandoned the brewskis of our forefathers and will drink only beer made in small batches no more than 10 miles from our homes?

Is the Tea Party drinking tea?

 

Responding to the decline in sales of the iconic Budweiser, which traces its roots to 1852 in St. Louis, the company is hoping to gain new fans by offering free beer.

 

Starting Sept. 27, Budweiser is kicking off its largest-ever free-sample campaign, seeking to win over drinkers under 30, who seem to be ignoring the brand entirely. The ad campaign will include a "Budweiser National Happy Hour" Sept. 29, when the company will encourage people to "Grab some Buds" -- free. Post continues after video.

Anheuser-Busch plans to hand out 500,000 free samples nationwide by mid-October, in sizes ranging from 6 to 12 ounces. If you've over 21, you can also get a free Bud on your birthday via Facebook.

 

USA Today reports the sad state of Bud:

At issue: a brand that's lost mojo. Bud unit sales were down 9% last year and are down the same this year, says Beverage Marketing Corp. Beer drinkers have lost loyalty to Bud for the past seven years, research firm Brand Keys reports. Bud's ranking among national product brands slipped from 16th in 2003 to 220th in 2010.

Not only are drinkers under 30 ignoring the brad, upscale consumers have moved on, preferring microbrews, cheaper brands or light beers. "It's a triple whammy," Michael Bellas, CEO at Beverage Marketing, told USA Today.

 

If it's free, are you willing to give Bud a chance?

 

A panel of young Orlando Sentinel staffers and friends recently did a blind taste test of 10 "bargain-basement beers" and ranked Bud Lite No. 6 and Bud No. 8, though Last Call blog writer Kelly Fitzpatrick liked the Buds a little better. The team's top choice was Yuengling.

The Washington Post Gog (Going Out Gurus) blog also organized a cheap beer taste-test panel. The tasters picked National Bohemian as their top choice. Bud Lite placed fourth of five, though they did pick it as a good choice to drink on a hot day.

 

Andrea Moya of Fabulous and Frugal came up with her own list of good cheap beers to bring to a party, favoring lesser known brands. She wrote:

Bringing beer to a party (even cheap beer) is an art. In the same way that you wouldn't just buy the cheapest wine (check out our Wine on a Dime), it's worth considering what kinds of quality beers are out there that aren't much more expensive than the standard Coors and Bud.

If even cheap bloggers are looking beyond Bud, the company may have a tough road ahead. Offering free beer can't hurt.

 

If you want to "Grab some Buds" free in the next month, pay attention to ads for local drinking establishments, which will be providing the free samples.

 

What's your favorite cheap beer? I can't vote because I don't like beer at all, though it is good to boil shrimp in. Add some seafood boil seasoning and you've got dinner in four minutes.

 

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