Is this Bud really wiser?

Budweiser could have quite the marketing challenge in front of it as it prepares to roll out a new beer, called Budweiser Extra—aka B(E)—nationally. The new brew, which has been test-marketed in dozens of cities, contains caffeine, ginseng, guarina extract and fruit flavors in an apparent attempt to grab market share from cocktails that contain Red Bull and its competitors as mixers.

But some knee-jerk consumer reaction is simply, "EEEWWW!" This story in yesterday’s New York Times notes, “Various people who tasted it at my request noted NyQuil in B(E)’s bouquet and hints of white zinfandel and cherry cola on the tongue.”

Meanwhile, a quick survey of some Web posts indicated confusion, at the very least, about the beverage’s raison d’etre. Says one person at this link: “So why would you mix caffeine with a depressant? To negate the depressant aspect of alcohol? Does that even work?”

We’re not sure we want to know.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor