Bud branches into energy drinks

Budweiser beer maker Anheuser-Busch is to diversify from its core brewing business to launch a non-alcoholic energy drink, which could be introduced to the UK.

The new orange-flavoured drink, 180, contains vitamins B-6, B-12 and C, as well as guarana, a plant-based energiser.

It will be tested in upmarket bars, restaurants and health clubs in 30 US markets.

“It is very much in the early stages,” says a spokeswoman for Anheuser-Busch. “Whether it is rolled out in the rest of the US or abroad will depend on consumer reaction, but we would like to see it grow into a successful brand.”

The drink will target young professionals who want to increase their energy after a workout or while clubbing, or those needing a morning or afternoon pick-me-up.

The launch will be supported by a press and poster campaign created by St Louis-based agency ShawMarconi Creative, which asks consumers to “Turn your energy around. Do a 180.”

The energy drinks market is one of the beverage industry’s fastest growing sectors. It is predicted that it will be worth &£1bn in the UK alone by 2002, according to Zenith International’s Report on Sports and Energy Drinks 2000.

Red Bull is the most popular brand with about 70 per cent of the market. But it faces tough challenges this year from Coca-Cola and Britvic. Coca-Cola is about to launch its Burn energy drink in the UK, while Britvic recently launched Carbon, a stimulant drink which can be mixed with both dark and light spirits.

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