Anheuser-Busch Forgoes the Test; May Ship New Bud by Labor Day

ST. LOUIS – The newest Budweiser brand from Anheuser-Busch may roll out nationally by Labor Day with a hefty $40-45 million push through DDB Needham Chicago, according to several A-B sources.
A-B will forgo any testing of a new cold-filtered product (ADWEEK, June 7), believed to carry the Bud Draft name, and begin shipping to distributors in the next few weeks in order to be on shelves for the end-of-summer holiday. The move comes in the wake of A-B’s decision to keep year-old Michelob Golden Draft only a regional brand and its decision to move the advertising for the brand from Needham to St. Louis-based Glennon Cos.
Most of Golden Draft’s $8-10 million ad budget is expected to be put behind the new Bud Draft brand. Golden Draft will be marketed mainly with promotions as a specialty brand in its seven current markets.
A-B vp/Budweiser brands August Busch IV is behind the rush to launch the product before the end of the crucial summer selling season, A-B insiders say. Intense price discounting, bad weather in the Midwest, and a ferocious market share battle in California has hit industry-leading Budweiser brand hard and may also be contributing to Busch’s desire to immediately launch the brand nationally.
‘There has been some question as to when they want to bring the brand out,’ said the source. ‘But it looks like they want to take advantage of at least part of the summer.’
Neither officials at Needham or A-B would comment last week.
Budweiser shipments slipped 3.1% in 1992 after a dip of 6.3% in 1991. Bud Dry’s tumble has been worse, slipping 12.5% in 1991 and 14.3% in 1992.
A-B’s new draft product is only one of a number of new product ideas the brewer is said to be working on. Last month it was revealed that A-B had enlisted Grey Advertising/N.Y. to work on the brewery’s long-rumored champagne-colored beer product.
Currently, a Bud Draft product shows the most promise. Miller’s entry with its Genuine Draft product has been the most successful beer new product launch since Miller Lite came to life nearly two decades ago.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)