That’s hardly an endorsement of its core product, beer. But Anheuser-Busch is apparently looking to the future…and expecting “hard times.”
After years watching its once dominate beer brands decline, Anheuser-Busch is actively transitioning into a beverage company and investing in new alcohol ventures that don’t involve beer.
And with hard seltzers seeing meteoric growth this year and analysts predicting that it will become a $2.5 billion industry by 2021, Anheuser-Busch is upping its commitment to the segment to the tune of $100 million dollars.
Flavored malt beverages, (called FMB’s in the biz), have been around for a while now. Coors was actually first to market in 1993 with Zima which generated some buzz before quietly going away…
But hard seltzers reemerged in 2016 with the advent of White Claw and Boston Beer’s Truly line. And with more consumers that ever gravitating to more health-conscience lifestyles, hard seltzers just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Unlike beer, which comes with carbs and calories, hard seltzers offer a buzzy alternative which fits that call for a healthier lifestyle (at least conceptually). It also helps explain why hard seltzer sales have tripled over the past year, up 164% in July alone according to Motley Fool.
Anheuser-Busch got into the segment in 2016 with the purchase of Boathouse Brewing (a hard seltzer pioneer). And targeting women it rebranded the spiked seltzers as Bon & Viv and positioned the brand as more of wine-spritzer line.
But hard seltzers proved to have a much wider demographic appeal than what the company first projected…
In 2019 Anheuser-Busch introduced a hard seltzer extension to its Natural Light brand and it took off. And building upon that model Anheuser-Busch has now announced that is coming out with a Bud Light hard seltzer line in 2020.
The latest addition to the company’s “Beyond Beer” strategy, Bud Light Seltzer will come in four different flavors (Black Cherry, Lemon Lime, Strawberry and Mango) according to CNBC, all of them with only 100 calories, 2 grams of carbs and 5% ABV.