The brewer is hoping Budweiser Brew No. 66, a “lightly carbonated lager brewed with a touch of sweetness”, will appeal to younger drinkers and exploit recent sales gains for the master brand. AB-InBev has already launched premium variants for Becks Vier and Stella, which also have an ABV of 4%.
Jamie Lister, director of drinks marketing consultancy Drink Works, says the launch is a “positive proactive” move in line with the shift away from higher strength premium drinks. He adds that it will also help protect the beer category from the popularity of cider among younger drinkers.
However, Simon Davies, former marketing director of Molson Coors and founder of integrated agency MMIXX, says that AB-InBev will have to position the brand carefully so the brand’s “provenance” is clear. He says No. 66 currently looks too “designed”.
The drinks producer claims Budweiser volume sales increased by 19% and market share by 18.9% last year.
The brand’s August launch will be supported by a through-the-line marketing campaign.