12,614 $m
Despite its all-American appeal, slumping US sales have forced Budweiser to look abroad for growth. In fact, parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev aims to turn Budweiser into the first truly global, large-scale beer. The brand has aggressively expanded overseas production and secured distribution in about 90 countries, with noteworthy launches in Brazil and Russia. It’s now focused on China, the world’s biggest beer market, and one with an astonishing 40 percent growth rate. Beer is a notoriously local product, with both consumer habits and distribution challenges favoring native brews. Though Budweiser spent USD $1.4 billion expanding breweries in China in the last two years, it’s yet to gain significant share. In the US, meanwhile, the brand’s sluggish growth could benefit from fresh ideas. Budweiser evoked its heritage with a Super Bowl spot featuring its iconic Clydesdales, but Oreo’s quick-twitted social response to the game’s power failure overshadowed Budweiser’s messaging story. It also launched the premium Black Crown line, aiming at beer connoisseurs in order to broaden Budweiser’s customer base. While some say this strategy runs the risk of creating confusion regarding the brand’s core promise, it is at least a bold move to leverage the brand’s rich history. It remains to be seen if Budweiser’s attempts at global domination will pay off, particularly in China, but its leadership team is clearly not resting on the brand’s laurels, or its iconic gold crown.