Bud joins caffeine crowd

New brew also spiked with guarana and ginseng

Oct 5, 2004 - Anheuser-Busch is launching a new product under the Budweiser label that will be infused with caffeine, guarana and ginseng - a combination it promises will be both lightly "sweet and tart." This is the second beer with caffeine - following MoonShot, which recently hit a limited number of East Coast markets.


The new brew is called B-to-the-E - or Budweiser with something extra. BE for short, it will be packaged in a 10-ounce, slim-line can, similar to the non-alcoholic, caffeine-laden energy drink Red Bull, which has grown in popularity at bars.

B-to-the-eRecognizing the popularity of mixed drinks, A-B executives have undertaken a number of consumer studies in the past several months to try and get a handle on the consumer taste changes. A-B said consumers no longer can be considered just beer or just spirits drinkers. "They shift, depending on their mood," said Robert Lachky, vice president of brand management for A-B. "One thing that spirits do have is a cache of innovativeness."

Lachky indicated that the company felt it was time to start fighting back. "It's an attack on the [beer category] that beer needs to protect and reclaim," he said.

The new drink contains about its 22.5 carbohydrates and 203 calories. It will be 6.6% alcohol by volume, stronger than most beers, and have 54 milligrams of caffeine -- about the same as in a 12-ounce can of Mountain Dew.

"You'll be able to wake up and dull the senses at the same time," said Eric Shepard, executive editor of Beer Marketer's Insights, a trade publication.

Pending government approval, the drink will be launched in multiple phases in markets across the country. Officials say it will be in 50 percent of the country by the end of the year.

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