‘Good bad’ move by A-B InBev

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As many of you will have gathered, I have an affection for nonsense marketing terms. I have regaled you with some favourites, but there were two I failed to mention. They include the new ‘cold hot’ soft drinks category (ice tea and iced coffee, obviously…) and ‘premium standard’ lager.

The latter, which refers to premium brands at standard ABVs, came up again this week. Budweiser is rolling out on draught, but the draught version will be 4.3% ABV instead of a premium 5% ABV.

Owner Anheuser-Busch InBev (A-B InBev) has done well out of the standard premium sector. It should have done too, as it pretty much invented it with Beck’s Vier in 2006 and Stella Artois 4% in 2008.

With Budweiser draught, the brewer is targeting young-ish blokes going out to watch sport and drink beer — hence the need for a sensible alcohol level.

Brands like Foster’s and Carling already jostle for space in this market, but are ‘standard’ brands, lacking the image, and often higher price, of beers like Beck’s Vier and Stella Artois 4%. Brands A-B InBev already owns.

The Budweiser move seems to make sense for the Budweiser brand then, but little for the brewer. Surely it can only grow draught Bud at the expense of its other brands in the sector?

Sounds like something marketers would call a ‘good bad’ move.