Anheuser-Busch InBev is poised to launch Bud Light Seltzer as part of a new product blitz, according to reports from two beer trade publications.
Citing sources from the brewer’s distributor meeting this week, Beer Business Daily reported that the brewer was developing a seltzer line extension for its biggest brand as well as Bud Light Lemonade and Bud Light Crisp, which it described as a slightly lower-calorie version of Bud Light designed to take on Miller Lite. Also coming are a nitrogenized beer called Bud Nitro and seltzer line extension for Stella Artois, according to Beer Business Daily.
The brewer already markets two seltzers, Bon & Viv and the recently released Natty Light Seltzer, but it remains far behind the two leaders in the sizzling hot alcoholic seltzer segment, White Claw, which is from Mark Anthony Brands; and Truly, by Sam Adams-maker Boston Beer Co. Anheuser-Busch InBev only has about 7 percent share of the hard seltzer market year-to-date, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights, which also reported on the Bud Light Seltzer news, saying that the brewer showed its distributors a picture of a black cherry-flavored Bud Light Seltzer.
A spokesman for the brewer told Ad Age that “we have the industry's leading portfolio because we are never satisfied. We regularly share conceptual ideas with our wholesaler partners as we develop new ways to meet consumer needs. Details on new product launches will be shared in due course.”
The brewer’s Bud Light product blitz comes as the brand continues to decline. Sales at stores fell 7.5 percent in the year-to-date-period ending Aug. 3, according to Nielsen data cited by Beer Marketer's Insights.
More changes could be coming to the brand beyond the line extensions. Citing unnamed sources, Beer Business Daily reported that Bud Light’s medieval themed “Dilly Dilly” campaign “will be phased out after the fourth quarter.” The campaign, by Wieden & Kennedy New York, has not done much for sales, but has generated plenty of buzz, with “Dilly Dilly” emerging as a pop culture reference.
A spokesman for the brewer did not immediately comment on the fate of “Dilly Dilly.” The fourth-quarter phase-out would put the brewer in position to debut new work during the Super Bowl, a platform it has often used to launch new campaigns.