No, the slogan doesn't have the same ring to it as the King of Beers, but that probably won't stop the company from trying to take its new product to the top. The brew, known as B-to-the-E, or B(E), will pair caffeine, guarana, and ginseng with beer. The company plans to roll out the beverage in a "sleek" 10-ounce can with "stylish" (of course) graphics.
Based on Anheuser-Busch's press release, B(E) seems to be targeting a different segment than its Budweiser line. B(E), after all, is designed to keep up with "highly social and fast-paced lifestyles." I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'm so uncool that I didn't even know what guarana was until I looked it up (it's a berry from South America).
Although the company's attempts to appeal to the hipster crowd seem a bit lame, I can't blame Anheuser-Busch for trying something different with its beer. After all, as Nathan Slaughter reported, the company recently lowered its full-year earnings outlook by a penny because of the weather (a sorry excuse). And domestic beer volumes have been growing at anemic rates recently.
Still, Anheuser-Busch has to be careful not to lose focus on the brand that made it what it is today, since doing so means alienating its loyal base of Budweiser drinkers. Given its contents, B(E) doesn't exactly fit in with traditional beers, and in fact, adding berry flavoring seems to be a bid to appeal to people who don't really like the taste of beer. Sure, the brewer already offers alternative alcoholic beverages through its Bacardi line. In this case, though, Anheuser-Busch is associating B(E) fairly closely with the Bud name, which might be a little bit dangerous.
Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.