Anheuser-Busch on non-alcoholic beer: ‘We’re looking for new ways to capture the attention of consumers'

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

The new limited edition can designs for O'Doul's
The new limited edition can designs for O'Doul's

Related tags Beer NABLAB Anheuser-busch

Non-alcoholic beers offer an alternative to traditional alcoholic beers as consumers seek to moderate their alcohol intake. But it isn’t a case of choosing one or the other: Anheuser-Busch sees an increasing number of consumers mix both types into their social drinking.

Anheuser-Busch’s non-alcoholic beer O’Doul’s has launched a summer campaign with limited edition designs from local artists in NYC, Chicago and LA. It hopes to use the campaign to broaden awareness of its brand and non-alcoholic alternatives during social occasions.

It sees an opportunity for non-alcoholic beer not just among people who don't drink; but also for those who want to reduce their overall alcohol intake. 

How can existing options reach new audiences?

There are a number of factors driving people towards no and low alcohol beverages. This is often due to a desire to drink more responsibly, moderate consumption for health reasons, or avoid a hangover.

We’ve seen more consumers reaching for non-alcoholic and low-ABV beverages, thanks in part to consumers becoming more aware of drinking in moderation,” ​Adam Warrington, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility at Anheuser-Busch, told this publication. “Non-alcoholic and low-ABV beverages have been popping up to cater to this increase in consumer demand."​ 

Europe has been leading the market in terms of low and no alcohol beverages, but the same trends are being seen in the US. Anheuser-Busch’s global parent AB InBev has set targets for 20% of its beer portfolio to come from low and no alcohol varieties​ by 2025. In the US, the proportion of low and no alcohol beers in the portfolio is ‘currently lower than we’d like it to be’, says Warrington, but sees a big opportunity to grow their presence.

“Consumers clearly are asking for more non and low-alcohol options. Our opportunity at Anheuser-Busch is to market our current offerings, like O’Doul’s, in new ways, and to work with our innovations team on potential new options down the line.”

'We're not telling people to not drink alcoholic beers'

While a number of new non-alcoholic beers have been bursting onto the scene, O’Doul’s has been in the market for almost 30 years. It is brewed in the same way as traditional premium beers, before alcohol is extracted.  

“There is a general trend towards moderating alcohol consumption and finding new ways to engage in social situations without the side effects you find with consuming alcohol,” ​said Warrington.

“Consumers are still reaching for beer, but with more options than ever, the many are mixing in non- and low-alcohol beers into their social drinking.”

“O’Doul’s has a long history as a leader in the market for nearly 30 years, and we’re looking to find new ways to capture the attention of consumers open to a non-alcoholic option.”

And this is an opportunity that O’Doul’s hopes to tap into: appealing to consumers who don’t want to sacrifice their full strength alcoholic beers but do want to moderate consumption.  

“It’s important to note that we’re not telling people to not drink alcoholic beers and to only drink O’Doul’s this summer,"​ said Warrington. "We’re encouraging them to consider including non-alcoholic brews into their drinking occasions, alongside alcoholic beers, when they’re looking to take a break or slow down and enjoy responsibly.

“For our new O’Doul’s cans we tapped artists in three different markets to appeal to a variety of O’Doul’s loyalists, while capturing the attention of new fans who may not have previously considered the brand or non-alcohol beverages all-together.”

Anheuser-Busch believes new limited edition cans designed by three local artists in LA, NYC and Chicago can encourage consumers to explore non- and low-ABV summer beverages and 'ignite conversation' around responsible drinking behavior. The cans will be available in bars and at events (select bars in New York City from June 21; Wrigley Field in Chicago during the Cubs-Mets game and in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium during the Dodgers-Rockies game).

O'Doul's artists collaborations

Mr. Kiji​ is a Japanese born and New York raised multi-disciplinary designer and artist. O’Doul’s teamed up with Mr. Kiji back in November for its first iteration of the can redesign.

John Lee​ is a Los Angeles-based illustrator who brings street life and portraiture to life through his art, as reflected in the bar scene on his can. Inspired by the nightlife in his surrounding neighborhood, much of John’s artwork revolves around his passion for food, culture and nostalgia.

Brandon Breaux​ is a Chicago-based fine artist and designer, whose creative experience includes painting, sculpture, web video, print and interactive projects. Brandon is widely known as the artist behind Chance the Rapper’s iconic album covers. 

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