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Buds no more

While sales of Budweiser are on the upswing in India, with plans to reach smaller towns and cities, they are on the decline in the US

Budweiser is a popular American lager in India. Photo: iStockphoto
Budweiser is a popular American lager in India. Photo: iStockphoto

It is ironic that Budweiser, the lager that represents Americana down to the packaging of its cans in red, white and blue, is losing popularity in the US, at a time when it’s charting a new growth story in India.

According to a Bloomberg story published in October, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world’s largest brewer, sold 14.4 million barrels of Budweiser in the US last year. This figure was less than one-third of the volume that it sold in 1988, when sales peaked. The report also mentioned that Bud Light continues to be the more popular variant, with 35.2 million barrels being sold in 2016, but even this is a dip from the brand’s 2008 numbers. As experts point out, this decline has been in the making for some time now and an increasing propensity towards craft beers is only one of the reasons.

A Mint article published in July mentions that AB InBev, which operates as Crown Beers India Ltd here, introduced Budweiser in India in 2007 and positioned it as a premium and aspirational beer. Within a decade here, the company has acquired SABMiller (the name behind many beer brands, including Haywards 5000) and gained their market share. Budweiser has also established its presence in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. In the next phase, AB InBev’s plan is to roll out the beer to “secondary urban centres such as Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Puducherry".

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