Wednesday, May 11, 2016

One Nation under Budweiser

Budweiser has wrapped itself in the American flag, coming out with a special can this summer to show off its patriotic fervor.  Interesting for a company that merged with Belgian brewing giant inBev for a cool $46.3 billion.  However, it still considers itself America's beer.

I never could understand the appeal of Budweiser beyond its heartwarming Christmas and Super Bowl ads.  The beer itself is one of the worst commercial beers on the market -- veritable horse piss or in this case Clydesdale piss.  For decades, it battled the original Czech Budweiser over its name, claiming it coined it first.  The rival breweries reached a truce of sorts in 2014.

On the whole, American Bud hasn't made a big splash in Europe, even though it has beefed up its alcohol content to 5 per cent, the average over here.  For years it was little more than a "near beer" at 3.2 per cent, the alcohol percentage by volume allowed in many states for domestic beers.  Still, it is over-carbonated, tasting more like a beer flavored seltzer water than an actual beer.  No matter, the name of the game is advertising and this is what Budweiser excels in, whether its bathing beauties, Clydesdales or puppies.

It also did a good job buying up all its local competition for decades, which it continues to do.   However, it is kind of like sticking your finger in a dyke, as craft beers have not only spilled over the top, but with so many brewing kits available, homing brewing has become the rage.  This is why Anheuser-Busch InBev is gobbling up as many craft beers as it can with the hope of cashing in on this malt renaissance.

But, there are a lot of folks who like an ice cold Bud in the summer, especially on the hot beaches, so Budweiser has decided to make itself synonymous with America this year with the Olympics in Rio and the Copa America Centenario spread across 10 American cities, not to mention the so-called America's Cup in New York.  It all kicks off this Memorial Day, so say hooray for the Red, White and Blue!  This Bud's for you.

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