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New Budweiser Black Crown to debut with Super Bowl XLVII Commercial

Discussion in 'Beer Releases' started by Jason, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. “Though I can't help but feel as though the addition of caramell malts and a 6% abv should make for a rather boring beer without the addition of a marked and refreshing bitterness to signal that this is something apart from the regular Budweiser.”

    I am guessing that you have never had a Yuengling Lager or a Shiner Bock? The basic marketing points of these two beers are:

    · They look (appear) differently than a ‘regular’ AAL
    · The sweetish, caramel flavor provides a bit of flavor (albeit a subtle flavor). This is a distinguishing feature from a ‘regular’ AAL
    · The very small amount of ‘additional’ hopping is not truly distinguishing. A beer drinker cannot genuinely distinguish a 10-11 IBU beer from a 15 IBU beer.

    If you (or anybody) wanted to describe a Yuengling Lager, Shiner Bock, Budweiser Black Crown as “boring” beers I personally would not argue with you.

    From my perspective the ‘bottom line’ is that there is an established market for “boring” American Amber Adjunct Lagers and it appears that Anheuser-Busch wants their ‘piece of the pie’.

    Cheers!
     
    Crusader likes this.
  2. AbInBev is just trying to find a beer that costs the same to brew as Budwiser, but can be retailed a $1.00 a 6 pack more.
     
    chuckstout, teal and yemenmocha like this.
  3. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poobah (1,080) Arizona Jun 18, 2002

    and appeals to millennials. that was in the press release for age demographics.
     
  4. DelMontiac

    DelMontiac Advocate (630) Oklahoma Oct 22, 2010

    I'll try anything once. Can't bash it until ya try it. ;)
     
  5. I personally would be happy with an awesome beer from AB, and would still buy just as much beer from all the other breweries on Earth that I already do, and I assume most of you would probably do the same, but...... maybe AB should keep doing what they are doing and avoid producing a product so good that it could hurt some of the smaller guys. It's market share, and if someone on a budget who buys a few Stones and Rogues every now and then replaced them with Budweiser Project Blow Your Mind, it would decrease the market share of Stone and Rogue. As it is now, those 25000+ consumers are probably just using Project 12 and Black Crown to replace the regular Amber Bock and Bud Light already in their diets, so no big deal.

    If Anheuser-Busch did actually make a really good, honest beer from their own beer developments, and not from the acquisition of craft breweries, and then marketed it at a really affordable price, something more affordable than Bourbon County Brands, Founders Dirty Bastard, Terrapin Wake-n-Bake, etc..., how would the posting members here actually feel? We berate AB and others for trying to make beer and only satisfying the general public, including the 25,000+ from project 12, but there is possible danger if they produced an awesome stout or scotch ale that pleased everyone on Beer Advocate that was also available and affordable to everyone else.
     
  6. That's what always bugs me when this kind of new product comes up. I mean people complain that all AB does is make light lagers like Budweiser and Bud Light (even though that is what the majority of people drink) but if they actually try to make more flavourful beer people seem to criticize them for that too.

    It makes me wonder, I am sure there are a lot of talented brewers who work at the various Budweiser plants in the US. And beer recipes aren't super difficult to come up with. So what would happen if AB made say an APA that was almost as good as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but was in every grocery store in the US, and sold at a price point lower than any other craft beer?
     
  7. bolus14

    bolus14 Zealot (95) New York Aug 19, 2008

    I agree, at some point AB will probably drive them into the ground, but I would have to imagine that they own the recipes for what GI currently brewed. Going forward I wouldn't expect anything new, unless the head brewer had some good "understudies" that decided to stay, doubtful since most despise AB. They may stay for a while since they need a paycheck, but working for the money doesn't give the same results as working because you enjoy what you're doing.
    For the most part I bought there Belgians, and a couple seasonals. For the Beligans, one of my friends makes a few that in my opinion are better than GI's, the problem is availability, it takes 9 months to a year before you can drink it, if you want comparable quality as other craft brewers. And from a cost persepctive in my area GI belgians are $12.99/4-pack. For easier math lets say you get 48 bottles out of a home brew. For 48 GI's it would cost $156, that doesn't include tax or deposit, to home brew an all grain kit is ~$30 and malt extract is ~$45. Pretty easy sell even if the taste profile isn't quite as good or complex as GI.

    In the end it would be nice to see one of the BMC spinoffs make a good true craft brew without rice/corn in the malt bill. Take the hit on the bottom line and show that you want to make a good beer rather than a money machine.
     
  8. frazbri

    frazbri Advocate (600) Ohio Oct 29, 2003

    Without trying to start a shitstorm, I'm just going to say some of us would welcome good, cheaper pale ales from ABInbev, and some of us wouldn't buy them for reasons related to ABInbev's business practices. (but we really don't need to reboot that debate in this thread)
     
  9. bolus14

    bolus14 Zealot (95) New York Aug 19, 2008

    Doppelbockulus & kelvarnsen
    In response to:
    So what would happen if AB made say an APA that was almost as good as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but was in every grocery store in the US, and sold at a price point lower than any other craft beer?

    I think most craft/micro lovers would still avoid it. We know it's made by AB and wouldn't throw much of our money their way. Sure those on a tighter budget may give in to it and that's fine, at least they can get good beer, I think most of us have have been in a position of having to compromise due to price point.

    You can make similar arguments for buying from you LHBS or online. Many on here and brew your own forums will tell you they try to give as much business to their local guy, but sometimes you have to buy from the big guy online because the local doesn't carry it, there's too much of a price difference for your budget, or because your local doesn't handle ingredients correctly. It's just the world we live in and if you can you support the small town local shops, but sometimes you have to buy from the Walmart's of the world, just the way it is.
     
  10. Crusader

    Crusader Savant (345) Sweden Feb 4, 2011

    Would a single company like ABInbev be able to soak up a considerable slice of the craft beer pie by launching an APA or IPA that were good and percieved as such by even craft beer drinkers (who often seem underwhelmed by attempts at those styles by large breweries)? It seems to me that such a development would be rather different from the current dynamic where people don't stick to one brand of APA or IPA, not even if they are really good and come from a reputable brewery, they shop around and buy beers of the same style from a myriad of different breweries. It could very well soak up some of the volume to the detriment of craft breweries, but to think that the current dynamic of shopping around will become replaced by loyalty to one or two brands (which I think is the logical conclusion of this argument) made by one brewer seems far fetched at this point.
     
  11. rundocrun

    rundocrun Savant (280) Iowa Oct 1, 2010

    I am going to buck the trend here and say I will give this an honest and unbiased try (if that's possible). I'm even considering doing a Bud Reg vs. Bud Black Crown side-by-side tasting. It won't change how I feel about AB-InBev as a company, but if it's up to snuff they may just earn a smidgen of my respect.
     
    cmannes likes this.
  12. There is no doubt in my mind that Anheuser-Busch could make world class beers of any beer style. They have extremely knowledgeable brewers and all of the necessary brewing resources. Heretofore Anheuser-Busch has decided to principally (by a large margin) to brew for mainstream beer drinkers (primarily American Adjunct Lagers). Anheuser-Busch does make some half decent craft beers as part of the Michelob series of beer. I think that Michelob DunkelWeiss is a pretty tasty beer for example.

    So, why has Anheuser-Busch for the most part not brewed what could be considered to be craft beers? Why don’t they make an APA like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or an IPA like Firestone Walker Union Jack? I believe they haven’t gone into those markets since they were too small for them. Anheuser-Busch (and especially under AB-InBev) is basically interested in producing high volume beers. Producing small batches is not part of their business plan (to date).

    So, why the interest in making Budweiser Black Crown? I am of the opinion that Anheuser-Busch has looked at the expanding sales of Yuengling Lager and Shiner Bock and they thought:

    · There is a ‘sizeable’ market for American Adjunct Lagers and that market is expanding.
    · Shiner Bock accounts for 75% of Spoetzl Brewery sales. So, Shiner Bock is about 300,000 barrels annually (and growing)
    · Traditional Lager is the largest beer that Yuengling brews. Assuming 75% this represents 1,875,000 barrels annually (and growing)

    A combined existing market of a little over 2 million barrels at first blush may not seem large for a company like Anheuser-Busch but consider two facts: Yuengling is presently only distributed in 14 states. Shiner Bock has a large(er) geographic market (40+ states) but it has limited penetration in many of those states. For example, Shiner is theoretically available in the State of Pennsylvania but in the Philadelphia area beer market (which is a BIG beer market) Shiner s not sold. So, what is the nationwide market for a properly distributed beer such as an American Amber Adjunct Lager? Is it double or triple the existing market of 2 million barrels? I would think that Anheuser-Busch (and MillerCoors) would be very excited to enter a 4-6 million barrel market especially considering their decreasing sales over the past few years.

    Crusader asks: “but to think that the current dynamic of shopping around will become replaced by loyalty to one or two brands (which I think is the logical conclusion of this argument) made by one brewer seems far fetched at this point.” That is a reasonable argument for a ‘true’ craft beer like a very hoppy IPA; amongst ‘true’ craft beer drinkers there seems to be a trend to try the next ‘new thing’. Well I can report that the drinkers of Yuengling Traditional Lager are very loyal drinkers. It is extremely common to be in a bar and hear somebody ask the bartender: “Give me a lager”. The bartender hands the patron a Yuengling Lager. When the patron is done his Yuengling Lager he simply states: “Give me another” or the original refrain of “Give me a lager”. The typical beer drinkers of Yuengling Lager and their loyalty to a particular beer brands is exactly the kind of beer drinker that Anheuser-Busch wants!

    Now, I don’t think that Anheuser-Busch will make serious inroads in Yuengling states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, etc. but what about states like California and other non-Yuengling States? Even Ohio is a recent state for Yuengling since they just started distributing there a year or so ago. Could Anheuser-Busch make inroads in Ohio? I suspect so.

    Never underestimate the marketing and distribution process of Anheuser-Busch.

    Cheers!
     
    frazbri and Crusader like this.
  13. I tried all 3 of the AB/InBev 'Project 12' beers (only bothered to review 2 of them) and I have to say this was the most worthless campaign I have ever seen from this corporation. We’re splitting hairs on adjuncts and artificial coloring here folks.
     
  14. Mavajo

    Mavajo Advocate (550) Georgia Feb 10, 2007

    Sweet! I was just lamenting how there aren't enough mediocre golden lagers.
     
    audioserf likes this.
  15. Crusader

    Crusader Savant (345) Sweden Feb 4, 2011

    Good points made here. It represents a good opportunity and bet for them to try and find the next big thing in mainstream beer (on the edges of both macro and craft) that can be sold successfully by a major brewer (as opposed to the sales going to smaller regional ones or craft). The one dark horse in this is I supppose the question of whether or not they can get the marketing to work well enough for Black Crown, to the same extent as it did for Bud Light Platinum. Yuengling from what I've read builds its sales on a combination of having slightly lower prices than the big premium brands, the relative novelty of amber lagers, and its small-scale underdog/out of the mainstream charm/image (a metric that is hard to define and measure the importance of). Shiner I would imagine has a similar strategy with respects to pricing and cultural cache.

    In some ways, Black Crown could be compared to the Budweiser American Ale I suppose. Granted the ale designation might have hurt the latter's chances of gaining a wider following in the way that amber lager as a category have by being "too different" (and the target audience for it might have been more limited in scope than Black Crown, a testing the waters kind of beer for ABInbev). But in a way it was a similar bet, offer a darker colored slightly hopped up beer that was still accessible to the average beer drinker. I guess the lesson here is that not every beer that the major breweries put out will do well, but they are not going to sit still and do nothing whilst watching their sales stagnate or worse, drop. So as long as they have something in the innovation pipeline, and they take bets like American Ale and Black Crown, they are at least doing something and might find something that actually works commercially (as they have with Platinum). So perhaps they have found the sweet spot with this one, it will be interesting to see if it does.
     
  16. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (490) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    This is why I dont think ABI has done it.

    That want brand loyalty and I dont think most of us are loyal. My favorite IPA is Two Hearted, but I dont drink it exclusively, or even, really, all that often. I drink it more than any other IPA, but its a plurality, not a majority.

    And they dont want drinkers like that (well, not if it costs them loyal drinkers).
     

  17. Crusader,

    I am very interested to see how Anheuser-Busch markets Budweiser Black Crown. I highly suspect that it won’t be the stereotypical mainstream beer commercials (e.g., bikini girls playing volleyball, leading an exciting life, etc.). I suspect that they will try to sell the ‘features’ of:

    · It doesn’t look like the same old beer
    · It has more character (whatever that means)
    · It will provide a full bodied drinking experience (despite my suspicion that the body will not really differ from a Budweiser)

    They could also market the higher alcohol content but I doubt they will do this. I am unsure of the specific laws in this regard but advertising alcohol content appears to be frowned upon if not out-and-out illegal.

    Cheers!
     
  18. Crusader

    Crusader Savant (345) Sweden Feb 4, 2011

    On the Bud Light Platinum bottle the 6% abv is rather prominently featured on the neck label, and they zoom in on the neck label in the commercial, Budweiser Black Crown also has the 6% featured on the neck label, which might suggest a similar attempt to highlight its alcohol content in the commercial. From what I know it is very uncommon to see the alcohol level presented on the front label of an American macro (regular beer, light beer or malt liquor even), which is standard practise here in Sweden. So maybe that's their way of getting around the ban on advertising by using a high alcohol content as a selling point, if the number happens to be prominently featured on the front of the bottle then that's clearly purely a coincidence and should not stand in the way of them showing the bottle in the commercial :p.
     
  19. “From what I know it is very uncommon to see the alcohol level presented on the front label of an American macro ..” That is my understanding as well.

    I personally do not buy macro beers (and I typically do not carefully look at other people’s bottles in a bar setting). The only two Macro beers that I can state prominently display their alcohol content is Budweiser Platinum and now Budweiser Black Crown (since you educated me on this).

    It would appear that Anheuser-Busch is taking a different marketing approach here is prominently displaying alcohol strength. Hmmm?

    Cheers!
     
  20. So on the range of mediocrity this one is going to get an 8.5?

    I would be very interested if AB brewed a beer worth drinking, not just another Budweiser. I still wouldn't purchase it often unless on a budget to save a few dollars here or there, but who wouldn't find it weird if there was a product on store shelves brewed by AB that you would contemplate purchasing when there was a full selection from stone, dogfish head, founders, etc...
     
  21. Move on Budweiser, move on.
     
  22. Jack - if you are in Texas to see family like you say (I go too to visit family), you should know about Zeigenbock which is AB's answer to Shiner Bock.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziegenbock
     
    Chaz likes this.
  23. mecummins

    mecummins Savant (425) Illinois Nov 16, 2012

    I think you are all missing the most important point here . We KNOW that there will be a beer commercial during the Super Bowl. I've got this year's commercial bingo in the bag.
     
  24. Jeff,

    I have seen advertisements for Ziegenbock while I was in Texas. I have been to Texas a ½ dozen times but I have never drunk a Ziegenbock beer. I was not aware that this beer was brewed by Anheuser-Busch. I found it interesting that in the Wikipedia article it mentioned: “it is sold exclusively in the Texas market.” I would never have guessed that Anheuser-Busch would brew a beer for such a small market (a single state).

    Anyhow, my guess is that Budweiser Black Crown is Anheuser-Busch’s attempt to enter the national American Amber Adjunct Lager market. Based upon the education that Crusader provided concerning the alcohol content (6% ABV) I am starting to think that this aspect will be a subtle part of their marketing plan for this particular beer.

    As I have stated a number of times, I am intrigued to see how this beer is marketed by Anheuser-Busch. I personally have not tried this beer but I have read a number of BAs comments on their drinking of this beer and it sounds like this beer will be a Budweiser with the equivalent of some food coloring (i.e. color and a very small amount of flavor from the crystal malt added to the grain bill).

    Cheers!

    Jack
     
  25. Zeigenbock is one of AB's "ICS (Import - Craft - Specialty) Brands" - the other notable domestic beer ICS line that has a very limited distribution area is Michelob Golden Draft and Michelob Golden Draft Light which are only available in the northern Mid-West and actually the largest selling beer in Minnesota (IIRC).

    Texas is also the second largest beer market in the nation (after Calif.)

    Miller-Coors' Hamm's brand also has a very limited regional distribution these days.
     
  26. Chaz

    Chaz Champion (815) Minnesota Feb 3, 2002

    Wondering if all that Texas glass is as savory as they say it is, I recently poured an ice-cold bottle of Michelob Amber Bock into a Ziegenbock "Libbey Pint" glass, and could not taste the difference.

    Still, I will give the Budweiser Black Crown a try when I see it, especially as the variety packs came and went so quickly. I mean hey: An all-malt Budweiser brand. Who'da thunk? ;)
     
  27. “Texas is also the second largest beer market in the nation (after Calif.)” I fully appreciate that but I would have thought that to be a small market by Anheuser-Busch standards.

    I tried to find out how much Ziegenbock is sold annually (number of barrels per year) but my google fu is lacking. Do you know what the sales volume is for Ziegenbock?

    Cheers!
     
  28. “An all-malt Budweiser brand” . I think I will need to throw a flag on that play: 15 yards for taunting!;)

    Cheers!
     
  29. Crusader

    Crusader Savant (345) Sweden Feb 4, 2011

    Anheuser Busch seems to have had a special marketing and product strategy for Texas from its beginnings. Adolphus Busch was co-founder of the Lone Star brewery in 1884 and they seem to use a special label for their Budweiser beer there (unless this is a special edition type bottle design), along with this Ziegenbock beer. It seems as though they've long believed that their business model needed to be adapted especially to suit the Texas market, rather than apply the same national strategy that they used/use in most or all other states.
     
  30. I have had Zeigenbock while in TX visiting family. Lets just say that I thought Shiner Bock had more flavor, though it is far from a Bock. Shiner Black Lager is what I like, and some of their other beers that they make from time to time are tasty.
     
  31. Yeah, barrelage for individual brands is usually hard to come by unless you're willing to pay the big bucks for the marketing reports. IRI-SIG (which lists only off-premise grocery and conv. stores sales, so is not totally accurate) has it way down around AB's 50th best seller- among brands like Beck's N/A, Wild Blue and Margaritaville Spiked Lemonade.
     

  32. Thanks for your response.

    I highly suspect that the sales volume of Ziegenbock is very, very low by Anheuser-Busch standards. It is interesting that they are willing to produce this beer given its limited sales volume.

    Crusader had an interesting discussion topic that Anheuser-Busch has some ‘history’ in their beer business dealings in Texas. I find it very difficult viewing Anheuser-Busch in terms other than corporate/industrial terms. Why they are willing to produce a low volume beer such as Ziegenbock is something I have difficulty comprehending.

    Cheers!
     
  33. Crusader

    Crusader Savant (345) Sweden Feb 4, 2011

    Maybe it's as simple as them feeling as though they have to match their (local) competitor's product offerings (or at least the ones that show commercial promise/success). Comparable to the national level where AB followed Miller brewing into the light beer category. Ziegenbock was released in 1995 and is thus not that old really, and the local competition Shiner bock is obviously still successful. If the amber lager category as a whole had been failing in Texas, with Spoetzl brewing not having any success with their Shiner bock, then it would be understandable if AB would let go of their offering as well, getting out of a dying product segment. But if the segment is successful, then there's no good reason why AB should get out from it, or why they shouldn't be the ones that are the most successful in it (from their point of view as a company).
     
  34. I have a sample of this that my cousin and I are gonna crack open tonight
     
  35. “Maybe it's as simple as them feeling as though they have to match their (local) competitor's product offerings (or at least the ones that show commercial promise/success). Comparable to the national level where AB followed Miller brewing into the light beer category.” I understand the motivation for Anheuser-Busch competing in the national light beer market. That is a HUGE market (and getting bigger?) and Anhueser-Busch is selling a lot of Bud Light these days; it is their number one selling beer in the US.

    “Ziegenbock was released in 1995 …” That is an eternity for Anheuser-Busch in the context of new beer releases. I do not have numbers here but Anheuser-Busch has released a lot of new beers nationally since that time: Bud Light Lime, Bud Platinum, Bud American Ale, Michelob Ultra, Michelob Ultra Amber, etc.

    I really wish I knew the sales volume of Ziegenbock from 1995 to today. Despite my lack of knowledge in that regard I am convinced that the sales volume of Ziegenbock is extremely low by Anheuser-Busch standards.

    “But if the segment is successful, then there's no good reason why AB should get out from it, or why they shouldn't be the ones that are the most successful (from their point of view as a company).” In this thread I have argued that “segment” is American Amber Adjunct Lager and Anheuser-Busch’s national release of Budweiser Black Crown is their present day attempt to enter that market in a BIG way.

    I would be interested in seeing if the acceptance of Budweiser Black Crown is successful whether Ziegenbock will still be brewed. How many American Amber Adjunct Lagers does Anheuser-Busch need in their portfolio?

    Cheers!
     
  36. Please report back your findings.

    Cheers!
     
  37. Chaz

    Chaz Champion (815) Minnesota Feb 3, 2002

    Hah! We can review that flag once the bottles hit. Meanwhile:

    "Michelob|Crafting a Better Beer"

    Two Row plus Caramel in both the original Michelob brand and the Light, and various all-malt* recipe for the others. I've gone 'round the block with this one over the years (and still raise a fresh "pint" from time to time), but don't expect anything earth-shattering from this new brand of American Budweiser. :)

    *I don't see the Honey Lager very often, to be honest, but have always wondered whether it was introduced in order to compete with a particular, regional honey lager.
     
  38. Crusader

    Crusader Savant (345) Sweden Feb 4, 2011

    True the light beer business is enormous, then again the Black Crown, if you're correct, might arguably be a pitch against those few million barrels of beer that Yuengling and Shiner command in sales (as you said). So even if the segment is smaller, the seemingly local nature of business in Texas combined with the market demand or appeal for amber lagers might have made AB feel compelled to enter and remain in this market. The fact remains that they did introduce Ziegenbock and they have in fact kept it going since 1995, this seems to indicate an interest in and percieved potential of a local brand of amber lager on behalf of AB. If this explanation/interpretation does not hold, and I think it's the most simple and straight forward one out there, then another, potentially more complex explanation is required (though such a search needen't be part of this thread of course) :p .

    True, there are certainly examples of new brands which have come and went over an even shorter period of time, just as there might be examples of brands that have survived for as long as Ziegenbock without proving too commercially successful (I'm thinking about various malt liquor brands and ice beer brands, left overs from unsuccessful segment launches). I too would expect a very low volume brand to face the axe at some point, but that point might not yet have arrived for Ziegenbock, as can be attested by its continued existence, for the time being.


    Yes by the sound of it, as per jesskiddens information, it might have really low sales.

    The answer is they need two, one for Texas and one for the rest of America :p. But yes, it would seem logical for Black Crown to superceed a minute brand such as Ziegenbock, with a national product launch it might just get confusing if Ziegenbock and Black Crown share shelf space in Texas. Unless they think of Ziegenbock as a craft beer sort of brand whilst Black Crown is the more mainstream offering. And more shelf-space for ABInbev products might not be a bad thing either, even if it means offering similar products. But it's an interesting question to ponder.
     
  39. My comment was in the contect of Budweiser Black Crown. Do you know if that beer will be all malt? Do you have a source for that information?

    Cheers!
     
  40. Chaz

    Chaz Champion (815) Minnesota Feb 3, 2002

    No sir, I do not. I thought I had read a reference to this in a thread here on Beer Advocate, but found no direct link to such language offsite. But after having read a few variations of the official press release, what stands out is the mention of malts and hops in the language, with no reference to adjunct grains in the recipe. And while that's no admission of an all-malt product, it is somewhat noteworthy as Anheuser-Busch has made efforts to highlight the quality of the rice used in its recipes in the recent past.

    This fellow Will Gordon (some sort of foodie, I take it?) provides a rundown of the brands in the Project 12 sampler that was here today, gone tomorrow, locally. In the tide of local Craft Beer offerings, I think I'll probably find one of these samplers in the knock-down bins. ;)
     

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