AB InBev is betting on hard seltzer to boost its bottom line as beer consumption falls in the United States.
“It is something that’s profitable, it’s here to stay,” CEO Carlos Brito told CNBC.
Currently, 55% of alcohol consumers in the US drink an alcoholic seltzer once a week.
“It’s something that the beer category has lacked for many years, which is innovation,” Brito added. “And now the category is innovating very fast.”
AB In-Bev has just introduced Bud Light Seltzer to its hard seltzer category, which also includes Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer and Natural Light Seltzer.
AB InBev is consciously tying the seltzer to its No. 1 product – Bud Light, which is the top-selling beer in the US.
The seltzer (5% ABV) is made with sparkling water, cane sugar and natural fruit flavorus. It comes in four varieties: black cherry, mango, lemon lime and strawberry.
Below is the first ad for the product:
Ads began appearing for the new brand on Jan. 4, 2020 and so far, $24.2 million has been spent on placements.
Bud Light Seltzer will be one of four products that AB InBev spruiks during its four 60-second spots during Super Bowl later this month, along with Bud Light, Budweiser, Michelob Pure Gold and Michelob Ultra. Super Bowl LIV ad spots comes with a $5 million+ price tag.
AB InBev vice president Dave Taylor said: “It’s not too dry, not too sweet, and very clean. We think it can do for the hard seltzer category what Bud Light did for the beer category.”
Beer embraces the wellness trend
Brito said that while the company hasn’t noticed a dip in sales during events such as Dry January, it is responding to the wellness trend among drinks consumers.
As part of the brewing giant’s refocus, AB InBev has added four no- and low-alcohol craft beers to its portfolio in the US this month.
The new drinks are Good Island’s So-Lo with an ABV of 3%, Four Peaks Brewing Co.’s Gilt Lifter with a 3.4% ABV, Breckenridge Brewery’s Resolution Blueberry Açai Golden Ale with a 3.5% ABV and Golden Road Brewing’s Mango Cart Non-Alcoholic Wheat Ale with an ABV of less than 0.5%.
Adam Warrington, AB InBev’s vice president of corporate social responsibility, said the company plans to have 20% of its global beer volumes coming from no- and low-alcohol beers by 2025.