Bud Light Lime

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Bud Light with Lime is a recent offshoot of the Bud Light brand of beer. It combines the superior drinkability[1] of Bud Light with a splash of 100% natural lime flavor.[2] Bud Light with Lime (also known simply as Bud Light Lime) appeals to mainstream beer drinkers who prefer a sweeter, less bitter lager.[2]

The product launch, in April[3] or May[2] 2008, marked the first time Budweiser had attempted a "flavor extension" of its light beer line.[4] was perhaps an attempt to win back some "thrill-seekers" the brewing company had lost to craft and microbrewery beers over the past several years. Budweiser spent $35 million[4] in 2008 on television and billboard advertising[5] for its new product, giving it high visibility among college students and sports fans, two important demographics for mass-market beers. The company's confidence in its product's selling ability is reflected in its price: Bud Light Lime retails for $1.00 to $1.50 more per bottle than standard Bud Light.[6] "It all boils down to the fact that this is a drink [consumers] would expect to pay more for," says Anheuser-Busch VP of consumer strategy Marlene Coulis.[5]

Historical background

While the idea of mixing beer with lime juice (or any flavoring not involved in the brewing process) may repel some purists, the idea is actually an ancient one. Beer cocktails, or shandies, are a well-established subgenre of cocktails in the Anglophone world — in fact, the "lager and lime"[7] is so well established in England as to have entered the common parlance as Cockney rhyming slang for "time".[8]

A traditional drink in northern Mexico[9] is the michelada, a mixed drink containing approximately one part lime juice to six parts lager. Micheladas also include a dash of salt, and some kind of saucehot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or both.[9][10]

A similar phenomenon in the United States is "red beer" — lager and tomato juice — which is popular in western states such as Colorado, Oklahoma,[2] and Nebraska.[11] (This mixed drink is not to be confused with red ales or beers such as Killian's Irish Red, which are simply beers of a naturally reddish hue.) Some recipes substitute V8 or Clamato for pure tomato juice.

Competition

In June 2007,[12] Miller launched a chelada-style bottled light beer, "Miller Chill", containing lime flavoring and salt. The drink was not well-received, some critics going so far as to dub it "a beer for people who don't like beer".[13] Nevertheless, within a month of its national debut the brand had managed to rival smaller brands such as Dos Equis and Rolling Rock in sales volume.[12] In late 2007, Budweiser responded with "Bud Chelada" — which, confusingly, is a Clamato-based red beer beverage, not particularly similar to a Mexican chelada.[14]

Bud Light Lime differs from Miller Chill in that it is not a "Mexican-style"[12] beverage aimed at the Latino market; its advertising is aimed at a younger, whiter, more upscale demographic. Freed from the need to imitate Mexican chelada drinks, Bud Light Lime does not contain salt. It is closer in spirit to Corona, another summer-time, outdoor light beer with a youthful image. Indeed, Bud Light Lime cut into Corona's sales in the second quarter of 2008.[4][15]

Anheuser-Busch currently controls about 48 percent of the market for beer in the United States.[6]

References

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