Anheuser-Busch InBev to Launch Bud Light Lime-A-Rita

By Chad Pilbeam & Jim Cohen | March 19, 2012 | 0 Comments |
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Segmentation has become critical in the beer industry to differentiate brands. Marketing and new brands became the rage during the late 70’s and early 80’s and large breweries like Anheuser-Busch and Coors releases light beers and brands that targeted different segments of the market. This allowed them to continue to gain market share and disable smaller breweries.  For Anheuser-Busch InBev, the trend hasn’t changed.

After seeing the wild success of Bud Light Lime (the #15 best-selling beer of 2011) for the consumer’s tastes and disposable income, AB-InBev has test marketed and received label approval for a new malt beverage – Bud Light Lime-A-Rita. This shouldn’t be all of a surprise after AB-InBev has released beers like Bud Light Golden Wheat and Bud Light Platinum.

The brewery tested the product under the guise of “Test Beer L” and AB-InBev spokespeople have been declining to comment, but the approval for labeling suggests that the new product will be reaching market soon.  Response from those who’ve tasted “Test Beer L” suggests that it surprisingly tastes just like a margarita.

Bud Light Lime-A-Rita appears to be the latest arrival to the market of what some call “alco-pops” or PABs (Progressive Adult Beverages); malt beverages with a flavor profile of a cocktail vs. a traditional lager or ale.  According to the approved labels, the new product will be available in 6.0% and 8.0% ABV, making it considerably stronger than a traditional Bud Light (but around the same ABV has Bud Light Platinum).

Sales of Budweiser and Bud Light in the U.S. both lost market share from 2010 to 2011, though the beers remain the number three and number one best-selling in the market, respectively.  To maintain their brand value and keep the Bud Light name strong amongst consumers, A-B InBev is updating their marketing campaigns and launching a series of new products this spring, including Bud Light Lime-A-Rita. Another benefit is that loyal Bud Light drinkers will adopt the new beverage due to the Bud Light labeling.

As proof for this formula: in February, Bud Light Platinum achieved 1.0% market share in the U.S. in just one month.  Also due out this spring, expect to see new versions (flavors) of Shock Top and Michelob Ultra as the company looks to increase the market share of the products that collectively declined in the U.S. and globally by 0.2% in 2011.

The introduction of new brands to capture consumer market share in a declining market is not new. As craft breweries are growing at a rapid pace, macro breweries need to respond with “innovative” products. Coors Light announced a new brand a few weeks ago called Coors Light Iced T. We’ll see if we keep on being correct for our Top 5 beer trends for 2012.

Your Choice. Your Beer. Drink Up.
- Beer Universe

Chad Pilbeam is a staff writer for Beer Universe, you can follow him @beernbullcbo

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