Budweiser is calling on its Clydesdales and a country music star to push its Jim Beam-branded beer. The brew, which was announced in April, is called Budweiser Copper Lager. It is aged on Jim Beam bourbon barrel staves (staves are wood pieces that make up bourbon barrels) and it packs a significant punch at 6.2 percent alcohol by volume, compared with 5 percent for regular Bud. The Jim Beam brand gets prominent placement on the labels of the beer, which comes in short glass bottles.
The brew, which is hitting stores now, is supported with a campaign by VaynerMedia. A TV spot shows Bud's famous Clydesdales delivering the brew to a backwoods bar. Inside, country singer Kassi Ashton eyes a freshly poured glass, saying, "It's been a long-time coming." Digital and out-of-home ads are also planned.
While plenty of smaller craft brands have sold bourbon barrel-aged brews, the Bud-Beam collaboration marks the first time a major U.S. beer and whiskey brand have joined forces. It comes as the line between beer and spirits continues to blur. In June, for instance, Constellation Brands debuted a new malt beverage-based seltzer that carries the Svedka vodka brand name. Earlier this year Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey launched a Scottish stout called Kindred Spirits that is aged in Tullamore D.E.W. barrels and made in collaboration with Scottish brewery Innis & Gunn.
Bud's Copper Lager brew comes as Bud continues to experiment with limited-edition varieties in the face of regular Bud's long-term sales decline. Budweiser U.S. case volume sales are down 5.6 percent in the year-to-date period ending Aug. 11, according to Nielsen. Copper Lager will be sold through the holiday season. It follows two other limited editions: Repeal Reserve Amber Lager and Freedom Reserve.
Bud and Beam began working together in April with a co-merchandising program touting beer and bourbon shots at bars. Copper Lager is made with two-row barley and aged using charred American oak staves that were previously used to age Jim Beam for four years, creating what Bud and Beam describe as a toasted oak aroma.
Ricardo Marques, VP of marketing for Budweiser stated in a press release that "by working closely together with our friends at Jim Beam, we've brewed something truly unique that stays true to the incredible legacy of these two American icons." Rob Mason, VP of marketing for Jim Beam, added: "Budweiser is the perfect match for Jim Beam—an all-American beverage icon with generations of family heritage, tradition and craftsmanship."