Budweiser Tries to Teach Old Dog New Tricks

Traditional Budweiser Lager won’t be disappearing anytime soon, but the macro brewer still wants to get into the craft beer niche that has seen healthy growth while the traditional brands stay stagnate. This past Monday, for the second year in a row, ABInbev released it’s “Project 12″ case. Inside you will find a variety of flavors and interpretations on style that all use Budweiser as a base template. This years release features three different ways to get your corn fix; a vanilla-bourbon lager, dark lager, and an IPL.

The article quotes Bud VP Brian Perkins as claiming no lofty aspirations of a company reinventing itself as a brewer of fine craft beer. Instead it puts out this variety pack as a way of offering its brewmasters who must be bored silly making the usual with a way of putting their own unique imprint on a venerable product. It turns out to be a win-win situation as Budweiser gets to essentially market test new varieties to see if anything may stick and turn into yet another brand the brewer can then advertise the hell out of. Budweiser Black Crown which got a lot of hype around Superbowl time this past February was originally in the first release of Project 12.

Budweiser is bucking the trend by putting these beers out under its primary brand label. Many of the macros have turned to either acquiring craft beer companies outright or forming new sub brands that market under names like “Third Shift Amber Lager” Or “Batch 19 Pre-Prohibition Lager”. Many craft brewers bristle at they way the larger companies play the marketing game and worry that polluting their scene with sub-par offerings will turn off burgeoning craft beer clientele. Charlie Papazian, who reignited homebrewing and now presides over the Brewer’s Association recently wrote an editorial accusing macro brewers of trying to “hijack” the idea of craft from craft beer makers.

Either way, this is yet another SKU of beer that will take up increasingly tight shelf space at your local distributor. But if you think that Budweiser would benefit from a bolder flavor profile and want to give it a shot, look for Project 12 coming to a store near you.

Source: USA Today