A-B Goes National with Low-Carb Brew

Sep 13, 2002

The Wall Street Journal reports that Anheuser-Busch plans a national rollout of Michelob Ultra, “the first major beer to claim that it is low in carbohydrates.” The brand’s rollout later this month will be supported by consumer print, radio and outdoor ads using the tagline: “Lose the carbs. Not the taste.”

Ultra began testing last December in Denver, Fort Myers and Tuscon looking to capitalize on the popularity of the low-carb diets. A 12-ounce longneck bottle of Ultra contains 2.6 grams of carbohydrates compared with 6.6 grams in A-B’s Bud Light. Alcohol content is the same for both beers.

“Watching your carbs has become the symbol of a balanced diet. We’re following consumer trends and reacting to consumer demand.” says Dave Peacock, vice president, high-end brands for Anheuser-Busch.

Moderator’s Comment: How do you think the low-carb
movement will affect a high-carb category such as beverages?

A-B is not making any health or appearance benefit claims
with its new rollout. Of course, it probably doesn’t have to. Dr. Atkins and
other proponents of low-carb diets have already done that for the brewer.

Ultimately, however, taste is the primary consideration
in a consumer’s choice of beer. Based on reports (we haven’t tasted any ourselves,
yet) Ultra has the taste worthy of the Michelob brand name. It better have.
A-B is looking to capture greater share of the high-end beer market with this
product. Ultra is going to retail for about $7 a six-pack.

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