Anheuser-Busch tries to revamp image with National Happy Hour

| Contributing Reporters

Bud Light LimeCourtesy of Anheuser-Busch

Local beer giant Anheuser-Busch is giving out free samples at bars, pubs and restaurants all over the country in its first Budweiser National Happy Hour this evening.

In an enormous effort to win back its younger demographic, Budweiser representatives will be offering free samples all over the country tonight from 4 pm to 8 pm. Depending on state and local rules, samples ranging from 6-12 ounces will be given to anyone 21 years of age or older at local bars and eateries affiliated with the occasion.

Budweiser customer loyalty has been slipping during the last decade, according to reports from the research firm Brand Keys. Among other national product brands, Budweiser dropped from 16th in consumer loyalty in 2003, to 220th in 2010. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Budweiser unit sales have decreased 9 percent this past year and have continued to decrease in sales.

This loss of loyalty is largely due to a fading connection with consumers under the age of 30.

New advertisements will begin airing on television this Saturday in order to further aid in this goal. The short-and-sweet new slogan for the first Budweiser National Happy Hour, “Grab Some Buds” makes use of simplicity in an effort to reach out to youthful consumers. Budweiser also plans to partner with Facebook in order to give a free beer to people turning 22 or older.

Although Budweiser is making strides to reach out to the younger demographic, young consumers remain tentative about switching from current favorite brands of beer over to the Budweiser brand. “There are so many alternatives. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s less expensive. We go for the cheapest stuff and for something that’s a little more geared toward our generation, but I don’t know how to describe how people gear things to our generation,” senior Victor Thomas said.

Anheuser-Busch has been very influential in the city of St. Louis and has donated significant funds to Washington University. In the early 1800s, immigrants from Germany, Bohemia and Ireland coming to the United States began to settle in St. Louis. These immigrants brought skills from their homelands with them, which typically consisted of making bricks and brewing beer. From there on, numerous breweries began to spring up throughout St. Louis. In addition to Anheuser-Busch, several other large companies, such as Adam Lemp’s Western Brewery, Arsenal Brewery, Anthony and Kuhn, and Excelsior, established themselves in the city.

Anheuser-Busch president Dave Peacock maintains that the company can re-establish its connection with consumers, although consumers themselves are not as convinced.

“I think they’ll give out a lot of free beer, but I don’t really know that it will increase their market share. Everyone has one particular brand that they prefer, but if another kind is on sale at the supermarket, that’s what they’re going to go to,” Thomas said.

Within the next few weeks, Budweiser will continue to emphasize its appeal to the under-30 crowd and will give away 500,000 free samples by mid-October. Only time will tell if Anheuser-Busch can reclaim its former glory rooted in the past couple centuries and in St. Louis.

With additional reporting by Kate Gaertner

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening at Washington University and beyond.