Anheuser-Busch InBev is incapable lately of making a product consumers actually want to drink and for that reason the company’s new strategy as the biggest beer distributor in the United States is simply to bully 500 different Wholesalers into distributing less of the competitions products.
While Budweiser is still the best selling beer in the United States its sales have dropped off for three years in a row, leading Anheuser-Busch InBev to instead rely on gimmicky new beers such as the 6% abv beer known as Bud Light Platinum which president of North American operations Luiz Edmond calls a “game changer.”
Most people I have spoken to who have tried Bud Light Platinum have agreed that it’s nothing special, just another Bud Light product wrapped in a pretty new bottle with a little bit more alcohol.
In the meantime Budweiser plans to roll out 19 new alcohol related products in 2012. In some cases the new beverages will hardly look or taste like the company’s signatures beers, take for example the Bude Light Lime-a-Rita. In other cases Anheuser-Busch InBev will simply expand on popular micro-brew lines such as their popular Shock Top beers. Other beers will rely on higher alcohol content to draw in drinkers looking for a quick drunk from less beers.
In what might be the biggest scared moved on InBev’s part Edmond says wholesalers must pick sides and show “loyalty” to his company.
That attempt at bullying could backfire big time on the part of InBev as more buyers are turning to micro-brews and willing to travel to purchase them. Before Fat Tire came to Illinois I use to have friends pick up cases of the beverage for me on their way back from Colorado and I wasn’t alone in my search for a good craft beer with many of my friends seeking out bars in my area that offer plenty of variety. Retailers who simply turn away from InBev’s competition could soon find themselves lacking for customers.
In the meantime anti-trust lawsuits are likely to start flying towards InBev should they strong arm wholesalers into an unfair business advantage geared towards their specific product lines.