Anheuser- Busch InBev is the largest brewer in the world and its products can be found among the top- selling beers in the United States and the world. However, the last several years have not been kind to Anheuser- Busch InBev and the business has witnessed flat or declining sales and market share among many key brands.
The fortunate fact for Anheuser- Busch InBev is that it is a very large business with ample supplies of capital, making it easy to develop and market brand new products. And in a short time, beer drinkers will get to sample the latest new entry in the Anheuser- Busch InBev family: Bud Light Platinum, a higher alcohol version of the popular Bud Light brand.
Looking at the numbers, Bud Light Platinum has just over 40% more alcohol by volume and about 25% more calories. Bud light has 4.2% alcohol by volume and 110 calories per 12 oz. serving while the new Bud Light Platinum has 6% alcohol by volume and 137 calories per 12 oz. serving,. These increases are fairly significant and the alcohol level of this product is actually higher than that of regular Budwesier.
So why, exactly, would Anheuser- Busch InBev create such a product? According to the company, Bud Light Platinum was created to appeal to a market that likes Bud Light, but wants something a little more flavorful and slightly sweeter. And since Bud Light is already a top seller, it makes sense that Anheuser- Busch InBev would try to capitalize on the Bud Light name. he company also plans to go for a specific brand image with this product, bottling it in a blue bottle- something never before tried by any large commercial brewery.
I don’t have any problem with Anheuser- Busch InBev trying to expand and improve sales because this is, after all, an important activity of any business. But what bothers me is that this product is really pushing the limits of “lightness”. A beer with 6% alcohol by volume hardly qualifies as a light beer and even though the calories are lower than most brands, they are still pushing the limits for something that is supposedly “light”, which, in he world of malt beverages, is supposed to signify a beer that is easier on the waistline.
I like the use of the word Platinum in the name because it does have a certain appeal and it sounds much better than other words often used to denote a beer with stronger, more alcoholic attributes. But is the name “Bud Light Platinum” really going to be sufficient to help this product sell? I’m not so sure, even though I agree that the sweeter flavor profile will win over converts who are a little uneasy with the somewhat bitter profile associated with Budweiser and Bud Light products.
I guess when your market share is dwindling and your sales are in decline, you have to do what you have to do, but once again, I must question Anheuser- Busch InBev’s wisdom in introducing a product like Bud Light Platinum. Simply fortifying the alcohol of your best selling product will not necessarily result in a better tasting brew and it could even backfire with some beer drinkers who enjoy Bud Light solely for the calories and carbs it saves.