Anheuser-Busch is launching a caffeine-infused version of Budweiser, called Be, which also contains guarana and ginseng with a sweet/tart fruity aroma and sweeter taste than the regular Bud.
Anheuser-Busch's decision to roll out Be reflects the fact that consumers face a growing spectrum of drinking choices, said Bob Lachky, vice president, brand management, and director, global brand creative, at the domestic brewing unit.
Years ago, people defined their drinking through a particular brand, such as Budweiser, or a type of drink, such as wine, he said.
Now, they decide to drink a Budweiser or some wine depending on their mood, the drinking occasion - such as a date - or the time of day, Lachky said. "It's more about individuality and wanting something different and not conforming."
The new drink will help rejuvenate the Budweiser brand, McGauley said.
"It just adds a tremendous amount of contemporary adult attitude to the Budweiser name as well," he said. "It's bringing some very key consumer elements that young adult consumers are looking for under the Budweiser badge and name."
The caffeinated craze isn't really anything new. From a soft drink standpoint, brands like Mountain Dew to Jolt Cola, created nearly 20 years ago, which claims "twice the caffeine and all the taste", have been around for quite a while.
And caffeinated beers aren't anything new either. You'll find Hyper Glow at Think Geek, MoonShot Beer, Double Black Stout- a combo of Redhook Ale and Starbucks Coffee, as well as others through microbreweries. And even on the American TV show, The Drew Carey Show, the characters created Buzz Beer, a caffeinated brew.
Last October, Milk producer Schroeder Co. came up with the idea for Hyper Cow- caffeinated milk beverages in three flavors: Straight Up Strawberry, Chocolate Shock and Mean Mocha Cappuccino- in order to get kids to drink more milk.
There have also been attempts at caffeinated water with brands like Krank20, which flopped as it tasted too much like caffeine and not enough like water.
But how harmful is all this caffeine? One study showed caffeine might hinder your short-term recall of certain words.
Another study has shown that drinking half a bottle of wine a day can make your brain work better, especially if you are a woman.
So this new brew from Budweiser will possibly make your brain work better, but you'll forget things in the short-term. Not an uncommon occurance for those who drink beer in excess anyways.
The big question is if this an idea that will work or will go the way of New Coke and Clear Pepsi. I'm not sure that those who choose the Red Bull and vodka and other "clubby" type drinks will be ready to move over to beer. But it will be intersting to see what path the advertising takes to sway the opinions of those consumers into at least giving it a try.