Published on April 26th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
10 Things I Learned From Visiting Anheuser-Busch’s New York Office
An American brewing company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, the roots of Anheuser-Busch go back over 160 years ago to 1852. The world’s largest beer producer, popular established Anheuser-Busch brands include Budweiser, Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Michelob, and Natural Light. However, in recent years Anheuser-Busch has become more synonymous with craft beers and other specialty alcohol brands, including Bon & Viv Seltzer, Kombrewcha and LQD Creative Liquids.
On April 25, 2019, I had the pleasure of visiting Anheuser-Busch’s New York office to learn more about the company’s latest and greatest. Below are 10 things that I learned from this visit.
1) As part of its on-going growth and product development, Anheuser-Busch talks to thousands of people on a weekly basis.
Anheuser-Busch’s products don’t just come to the market because an executive thinks it is a money-maker. Rather, ideas are tested out with premiumization, health and wellness, purpose, trends and general consumer interest all kept in mind. Products are generally tested out regionally before hitting the national market space, which the LQD Creative Liquids product line is currently doing within the Southern California area.
2) It used to take around two years to develop a new product, but such can now be done in as little as six months.
When Anheuser-Busch wants to fast-track an idea, it can. While the company does speak with thousands of people on a weekly basis, it does its advertising and design for all of its pilot projects in-house. Michelob Ultra Pure Gold, for example, was reportedly launched on a nine-month timeline.
3) The company especially realizes the importance of minority consumers.
Classic Anheuser-Busch brands like Budweiser and Bud Light are undoubtedly for the masses. However, in realizing that the majority of the United States population is pacing towards being comprised of minorities, the company has been working towards market share by way of making sure that it has all sorts of products on the market. For example, its Aguas Frescas are a classic Mexican beverage made with fresh fruit, while its LQD Hard Coconut Waters are vegan, gluten-free and made in collaboration with the 10 Barrel Brewery.
4) Like a record label, the company’s big successes help pay for its failures.
From years of working within the music industry, I can tell you that the world’s largest record companies made their money off of their occasional big hits, not with their small and steady successes. Anheuser-Busch appears to conduct business similarly, as a statistic cited aloud during my office visit was through the company’s pilot program — which is named after the Apollo space program of NASA — where two ideas taking off in a big way can pay for 100+ unsuccessful concepts.
5) Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold was the first major organic beer in the market when it debuted in February 2018.
For its USDA organic certification, Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold must meet strict rules, requiring at least two brewers on-site to manually add ingredients and oversee the brewing process. The product was one of Anheuser-Busch’s beverages featured in recent Super Bowl advertising.
6) Bud Light Orange was the company’s #1 innovation in 2018.
Bud Light Orange is brewed with real citrus peels, making it perfect for summer and warm weather gatherings. Also new to the Bud Light family is Bud Light Lemon Tea, which has real lemon peels and real tea in its recipe.
7) Stella Artois recently unveiled its first new innovation since 2013.
Back in February, Stella Artois introduced its super-light, crisp Spritzer. Stella Artois Spritzer is “an effervescent dry cider made from a blend of crisp apples and hibiscus flavors.” It has a clean finish and crisp, sparkling taste at 3.5 percent ABV and is naturally-gluten-free.
8) Anheuser-Busch was an early investor in Kombrewcha.
Through ZX Ventures, Anheuser-Busch first backed Kombrewcha — the original hard kombucha — in 2016. After finding success in New York, Anheuser-Busch helped Kombrewcha scale to the Pacific Northwest, where the region already had a high density of kombucha drinkers. The brand is the only hard kombucha to have a USDA seal of approval for its organic ingredients, and is now available in a canned format.
9) Budweiser Discovery Reserve American Red Lager is not Anheuser-Busch’s only charity-minded beverage.
b — currently being tested within the New England region of the U.S. — is made with three simple ingredients: honey, water and fruit; the alcohol is naturally unlocked from honey itself. At 3.5 percent ABV, b is available in two flavors: Honey, Water, & Cherry and Honey, Water, & Blueberry. It is naturally gluten-free, and only 100 calories. On the charity end, for every case sold, $1 is donated to saving American bees via the Healthy Beer Fund.
10) The latest product from Anheuser-Busch was actually launched this week.
The earlier-mentioned Bud Light Lemon Tea was actually announced within 24 hours of me visiting the Anheuser-Busch New York office. The 4.2 percent ABV beer is available in both bottles and cans, and it will remain in stores through September, so get it while you can.