ST. LOUIS – Anheuser-Busch InBev is rehearsing a new riff on the King of Beers.
The company claims that Budweiser Supreme is the reinvented classic, combining the unmistakable beer with honey malt for a “crunchy and silky taste”. Budweiser spokesperson Laura Ballantyne said the beer, coated in black and gold labels, launched Monday in five test markets: Ohio, New York, Washington, DC, central California and west Texas. She wouldn’t say when she will go nationwide.
The new beer is the latest attempt to support the iconic Budweiser brand. The flagship beer has been losing market share for decades as customers drew on lighter beers, including Bud Light, as well as imported brands, craft beers and spirits.
Over the years, AB has reacted with beers like Anheuser World Select – a European-style lager served in a green Heineken bottle – and the higher alcohol, craft-influenced Budweiser Black Crown with little success.
Harry Schuhmacher, editor of the industry publication Beer Business Daily, said Supreme aims to make Bud drinkers think before deserting to fast-growing Mexican imports like Modelo and Pacifico, which are sold by rival Constellation Brands. “It’s a way to keep the Budweiser drinker in the family,” he said.
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It might even convince Bud’s loyal drinkers to spend a little more – the new beer will be slightly more expensive than the flagship.
Whether it will last long is another question.
“If history is a guide, it has a tough road,” Schuhmacher said.