Anheuser-Busch is in the second year of its Budweiser Mobile Beer School, a marketing program more characteristic of microbreweries than the U.S.' top beermaker. The Beer School's vehicles travel around the country, with brewmasters telling people about the art of making Budweiser.
A-B started the program in 1996 with one mobile unit, giving consumers a free, 30-minute class complete with taste tests. This year, the fleet expanded to four vehicles that convert into "classrooms" at festivals and concerts.
Each classroom holds 50 adults. More than 89,000 consumers and retailers have "graduated" from the program this year. The Beer School has hit 135 markets so far in 1997 and plans to top that in '98.
Originally designed for retailers and distributors, the Beer School has proved to be extremely popular with consumers. Attendees "come away with a much greater awareness of the quality and effort that go into making Budweiser . . . it's a rare opportunity for us to spend time with consumers in a one-on-one setting," said Manny Flores, A-B's VP-new markets.
The Beer School is handled in-house; its arrival in a market is touted through local print ads and radio station promotions.
A-B is expanding the concept next year to include a separate series of "brewmaster dinners" for West Coast retailers. Retailers will receive a 3-hour presentation with a six-course meal explaining the brewing process and differences among about 30 A-B beers.
Separately, A-B is reporting successful results from its first retail establishment, the Budweiser Brew House pub, which opened at St. Louis' TWA Dome stadium in August. The pub offers all major A-B brands and complementary, "upscale" foods.
The brewer said it plans to open additional Brew Houses in airports and other