Flailing Anheuser-Busch Tries New Beers, Intimidation

Market share falling for big US brewers

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 29, 2012 10:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – Anheuser-Busch InBev is desperate to turn its sales around. Sure, it's still the biggest beer company in the US, but shipments have fallen for three straight years, thanks to the growing popularity of small, independent craft brewers. But this year Budweiser's got a plan, president of North American operations Luiz Edmond tells the Wall Street Journal: It's going to produce more beers, while leaning on distributors not to carry the competition. Anheuser will introduce 19 new products this year, its biggest rollout since the InBev merger.

Some will aim to compete in the craft market, like additions to its Shock Top line, or boast higher alcohol content, like the 6% Bud Light Platinum, which Edmond calls a "game changer." Still others, like Bud Light Lime-a-Rita, will be malt beverages bearing little resemblance to beer. At the same time, Bud has urged 500 wholesalers to distribute fewer rival beers, warning that it will act against those who don't. An unapologetic Edmond says wholesalers must pick sides, and show "loyalty" to InBev.

Packages of Bud Light chill in the cooler of a liquor store in southeast Denver on Monday, May 7, 2007.
Packages of Bud Light chill in the cooler of a liquor store in southeast Denver on Monday, May 7, 2007.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Bottles of beers including Budwieser and Stella Artois are seen on display at Dixie Liquors, Monday July 14, 2008, in Washington.
Bottles of beers including Budwieser and Stella Artois are seen on display at Dixie Liquors, Monday July 14, 2008, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
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