Originally conceived as America’s first national beer brand, Budweiser has burgeoned internationally: global volume grew 5.9 percent in 2014, with consumption outside the U.S. representing more than half of worldwide volumes. Last year, Budweiser also enjoyed a successful launch in Peru, saw double-digit growth in the U.K., and remained the number one beer brand in Canada—it even earned the position of number one premium beer in China.
As Budweiser expands its global influence, it has faced challenges in the U.S., due in part to rising competition from small-batch craft brewers. However, the brand’s U.S. sales have been on the upswing in 2015, with share and volume trends at their highest in more than a decade. Budweiser is connecting with customers using bold, confident messaging that celebrates its long and storied history as an American heritage brand. In 2014, Budweiser revealed the five ingredients—barley, hops, rice, yeast, and water—that give its brew a “crisp, smooth finish.” For the holidays, the company is distributing 60,000 vintage wooden crates filled with beer (following last year’s shipment of 10,000), each handmade to mirror the crates that were distributed by Budweiser Clydesdales in 1933, following the end of Prohibition in the U.S.
While Budweiser continues to tout its American heritage, the brand also embraces diverse cultures. In 2015, for example, Budweiser celebrated the Chinese New Year with “Toast to Dreams” events in ten cities throughout China, during which it released a massive Budweiser dream balloon along with thousands of lanterns into the sky over Haixinsha, Guangzhou.
The brand is also finding fresh ways to highlight its core values for contemporary consumers. In late 2014, it launched the #HolidayBuds campaign, inviting webcam users to offer “shout-outs” to the people with whom they’d like to share a beer with over the holidays. Budweiser’s revamped packaging is also attracting a new generation of drinkers: In 2015, the brand redesigned its label, released limited-edition, patriotic cans featuring Lady Liberty, and won a Graphis Platinum award for its new aluminum bottles.
A strong brand position and a beloved product, combined with innovations designed to broaden its appeal across generations, have kept the American-born brew a reigning “King of Beers,” both at home and abroad.