Anheuser-Busch (A-B) Europe is planning to launch Michelob Ultra, a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate American variant of the beer brand, in the UK next month. The move comes two years after the brewer scrapped Bud Lite, a similar low-calorie drink.
The 1999 Bud Lite launch was supported by a 5m advertising and marketing push. It is not known how much the company plans to invest in Michelob Ultra. A-B is understood to have done an exclusive 12-week deal with Tesco to introduce the product. One industry insider says: “The deal with Tesco will give A-B access to Clubcard data, which is what the brewer is after.”
Rival Coors’ “healthy” beer, Coors Lite, was rebranded as Coors Fine Lite Beer earlier this year to try to avoid the negative perceptions among British drinkers of “light” beers. For most consumers, the tag refers to a low alcohol content, rather than low calories.
A-B’s Budweiser brand recently signed up as a sponsor of Formula One team BMW Williams, in a five-and-a-half year deal worth about 10m a year (MW July 3).