Budweiser Derangement Syndrome is a real problem for the 139-year-old brewer. Despite being a perfectly serviceable mid-priced beer (perfect for hot summer days, sporting events, and when one is too full to stomach an otherwise excellent Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA), it’s pilloried across the Internet by bien pensant blogger types. (Here’s a representative and foul-mouthed example.)
Bud’s declining reputation has taken a toll; the lager, which long enjoyed the highest sales of all beers in the United States, has fallen to third place. And indeed, Bud hasn't only lost whatever cool cachet it once had–it's also a victim of current economic conditions. It’s neither cheap enough to appeal to America’s downwardly mobile, nor pricey enough for the Silicon Valley/Wall Street/lobbyist set. (A similar problem afflicts other mid-priced products and retailers–think Sears, JC Penney, and the Olive Garden.)
I’ve long suspected that many who view Budweiser as nothing more than a punch line have never actually tried the stuff. Now, via New York Magazine, comes evidence to back up my suspicion.
“[T]he Budweiser marketing team is back on the offensive, trolling micro-brew drinkers by going deep into enemy territory: Brooklyn during 2015 Beer Week,” reports the magazine, “The company set up a fake bar so it could hand out samples of a special, unnamed beer the bartender says has a ‘crisp, fast finish,’ comes from ‘a 139-year-old recipe,’ and is ‘aged in beechwood.’ (Spoiler: It's Bud.)”
Suffice to say, the Brooklynites actually liked the stuff! And most tellingly, they were shocked when the bartender revealed that they were actually happily drinking Budweiser.
This seems a smarter tack than Budweiser’s recent, idiotic decision to embrace the notion that it’s not a very good beer. Actually pointing out that Budweiser can taste pretty good seems like a step in the right direction on the marketing front.
And if this latest gambit doesn’t work, there’s always another way for Budweiser to appeal to beer snobs: highlight the fact that it’s now a Belgian beer.