In 2011 Natural Light generated buzz by claiming to be the first beer in space. Now Budweiser wants to go millions of miles further -- to Mars.
Anheuser-Busch InBev on Saturday announced its ambitions to take the King of Beers to the Red Planet. The news was shared at the SXSW Conference in Austin. It smells like a PR stunt aimed at gaining attention for the brewer, which is a SXSW sponsor. But a spokesman said it was a serious effort and could potentially include funding research to study how beer and carbonation would behave on Mars. The goal is to create a "microgravity" version of Bud suitable for drinking on the planet.
"Through our relentless focus on quality and innovation, Budweiser can today be enjoyed in every corner of the world, but we now believe it is time for the King of Beers to set its sights on its next destination. When the dream of colonizing Mars becomes a reality, Budweiser will be there to toast the next great step for mankind," Budweiser VP Ricardo Marques said in a statement.
The panel discussion was moderated by actress Kate Mara, who starred in "The Martian" movie. Also participating was AB InBev's VP-Marketing Innovation Valerie Toothman and former Astronaut Clayton "Clay" Anderson.
SXSW is hosting more than a few sessions related to Mars this year, including "So You Want to Go to Mars?," "Mars 2030," "Humans, Robots + Microbes: The Challenge of Mars" and "Buzz Aldrin's Cycling Pathways To Mars."
Natural Light, which is also owned by AB InBev, gained publicity in 2011 when two fans of the brew shot a can into space using a weather balloon.
But the website Seeker.com pointed out that the distance Natty Light traveled was "nowhere near space." A couple years earlier Japanese brewer Sapporo made a beer from barley grown on the International Space Station.
Australia's 4-Pines Brewing Co. has marketed a "space beer" called 4 Pines Stout that is made with low carbonation. That is because bubbles can cause out-of-this world digestion problems in space. "If you burp in space, it's usually wet because the liquid and gas doesn't separate in your stomach like they do on Earth," Charles Bourland, a consultant for the NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center, told NBCnews.com in 2011.