But as Anheuser-Busch, the world's biggest brewer, tries to offset a dwindling U.S. beer market by looking for growth elsewhere, it's better than not entering new markets at all.
For years Anheuser has been plagued by Czech brewer Budojovicky Budvar's ownership of the Budweiser brand in much of continental Europe but has managed to creep into 11 countries under the name Bud.
The Budweiser name can be used in nine more, including the U.K. Despite protracted negotiations, the stubborn Czech brewer shows no signs of relinquishing the trademark.
Rather than staying out of the $18 billion German beer market any longer, the U.S. brewer has created a new name to satisfy even the picky German authorities, who wouldn't let Anheuser use the Bud name because of its similarity to Budweiser. The launch of Anheuser-Busch B is being handled by Columbus, a Hamburg-based import company, with an ad campaign by Springer & Jacoby, Hamburg. Advertising in the trade press began last month. "The trade ads were done in-house," said Christoph Miller, Columbus' general manager.
Anheuser-Busch failed in an earlier attempt to enter Germany. In 1981, it formed a joint venture with Berlin-based Berliner Kindl brewery. But, despite heavy advertising support, through Admenting/D'Arcy-Macmanus & Masius, Frankfurt, consumers thought the beer's premium prices too expensive.