I confess that when Bud Light Golden Wheat first appeared in the market, I gave it almost no notice. It was yet another line extension in an increasingly crowded portfolio. If I had noticed that it also included citrus and coriander it might have been more apparent that it was conceived, at least in part, to attack Coors’ Blue Moon. Given Anheuser-Busch’s track record of going after literally every product on the market — no matter how small the niche — what’s more surprising in hindsight is that it took so long. Blue Moon first debuted in 1995.
Crain’s Chicago Business had an interesting article on Monday about the battle, entitled Budweiser Takes On MillerCoors’ Blue Moon In Craft Beer Brew-Haha.
But since its debut last October, Bud Light Golden Wheat has made significant progress, showing just how important distribution and access to market can be.
Anheuser-Busch showed last month that it has the marketing muscle and distribution wingspan to make up lost ground quickly. It sold 263,000 cases of Bud Light Golden Wheat in November, nearly equaling Blue Moon’s total, IRI data show.
It’s an interesting read, and to me the takeaway is Harry Schuhmacher’s thoughts, as quoted in the article:
“It’s very important because craft beers are the only growing part of the business,” says Harry Schuhmacher, editor of San Antonio-based trade publication Beer Business Daily. “This is where the future of beer is going, and they want to make sure they are well-established in the category.”