Bud Light flops in Britain

A-B gives up on U.K., discontinues sales

Jan 12, 2001 - American brewing giants Anheuser-Busch has pulled Bud Light out of Britain because the lager had failed to make enough impact in the fiercely competitive U.K. beer market.


Anheuser-Busch introduced Bud Light to Britain two years ago, hoping it would attract a following among people who wanted to drink beer but worried about their calorie intake. Instead, the drink appears to have fallen into a void between the two, proving too light for serious drinkers and too macho for calorie-conscious women.

Bud Light has 25% fewer calories than the regular Budweiser, but is only a little less strong: the alcohol content is 4.3% by volume compared with 5% for Bud. A-B acknowledges that many British drinkers were confused by the word "light," thinking it meant low-alcohol rather than low-calorie.

Datamonitor, a market research company, said A-B took a risky line with its advertising, pitching the product almost as a slimming aid. "If you look at who the main beer consumers are, obviously they're men: and men certainly don't want to be seen as going out drinking a beer that's seen as a dieting aid," said Neil Broome, a Datamonitor analyst.

In the United States, Bud Light sales continue to climb at a rate that suggest it may not be long before it overtakes Budweiser at the top-selling beer in the country.

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