The last few years—actually, make that the last few decades—have not exactly been kind to the Budweiser brand in the U.S. Although Bud Light has had considerably more time in the sun since it was first developed in 1982, the former flagship product of Anheuser-Busch, affectionately known as “Bud Heavy,” has sunk like a lead stone as its target demographic shrinks on a yearly basis. Combined with the growth of the craft beer industry and the rise of imports from countries such as the U.K. and Mexico, the overall rate of domestic beer consumption fell from 87.7% in 2000, all the way to 67.6% in 2017. And that decline is only continuing today.
One place where Bud Heavy is actually on the rise, though, appears to be China. The combination of the country’s titanic population, coupled with a rise in affluence of the younger generation of adults, has apparently made more expensive, foreign, “premium” beers more attractive, to the point that they’re now consuming more Budweiser as a country than the U.S. To them, an aluminum pint of Bud Heavy seems like a significant upgrade in quality from yet another bottle of Snow ... as quaint as that may seem to us.
“Whether it is nostalgia for a beer drank back home or on holiday, or a longing for a product with authenticity of a country far away, consumers see foreign beer as a premium product,” said Francois Sonneville, a senior beverage analyst at Rabobank, in a piece in Beverage Daily.
Still, it’s quite strange to think that so far away from the U.S., the Chinese are drinking more than we are of a product that was once synonymous with the entire American beer industry. You could perhaps consider this the last step in Anheuser Busch being robbed of whatever kind of “Americana” cache that AB InBev would like to robe it in.
And before you go, check out this extremely overproduced Chinese Budweiser commercial, which is really more like a short film. A short film involving disappointed parents and African desert marathons.
You know what the body really craves, when you’re setting out in an African desert marathon? A pint of Bud Heavy.