Last week, Budweiser announced that it will be introducing a limited-edition beer this summer called Budweiser Freedom Reserve Red Lager. The beer was apparently inspired by a recipe that George Washington wrote in his journal in 1757.
Is this a good idea? Absolutely.
Budweiser is a famous but troubled brand. Consumption has fallen steadily over the past decade. The brand has tried different approaches to reverse the slide: heart-warming ads featuring the Clydesdale horses, tough ads attacking competitors, rational ads discussing quality ingredients, cause ads celebrating veterans. The only real constant through all of the shifts is that consumption falls.
A new product like Freedom Reserve might spark some growth. I think it is a smart idea for three reasons.
First, it is consistent with the brand equity. Budweiser has long embraced patriotism. All around the world, people see Budweiser as one of the true American brands. For the past two summers, Budweiser has changed its name to America, a strange but creative approach. A beer inspired by a George Washington recipe fits perfectly. The name does, too. It is hard to be against Freedom Reserve.
Second, the new product brings interesting news to an old business. It is tough to get people to reconsider a well-established brand. You need something different and unique. A new product like Freedom Reserve might work. Red Lager sounds interesting and vaguely crafty.
Third, it might actually be a good beer. I’m a fan of the Budweiser brand but I don’t care for the taste. Perhaps this new product will be better.
Will this new beer fix all of Budweiser’s issues? I suspect not. Prior new products haven’t done much. Budweiser Black Crown, for example, was apparently a disappointment.
Nonetheless, I think Freedom Reserve will drive incremental consumption for Budweiser. It is a promising step.
Track some down and give it a try.