- Budweiser unveiled an addition to its Reserve Collection, Budweiser Freedom Reserve Red Lager, that's inspired by a recipe from George Washington's personal military journal from 1757, a news release announced.
- Available through September 30, the beer comes in a vintage, stubby bottle packaging or pint cans that include the signatures of its brewers. Budweiser is supporting the launch with an integrated marketing campaign that includes in-store displays, online ads, digital video and TV spots airing during the NBA Finals, NHL Stanley Cup Finals and other sports events. The brand also partnered with alcohol delivery service Drizly on a promotion where consumers can save $5 on their first Drizly purchase using the code "Freedom" through July 15.
- Budweiser Freedom Reserve Red Lager was made by a group of Budweiser brewers who are also veterans. For the seventh consecutive year, Budweiser is donating part of the proceeds from its beer's sales to Folds of Honor, a nonprofit providing scholarships to military families that it has previously raised $14 million for.
Summer, and especially holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July weekend, are big for beer sales, and Budweiser is trying to increase shelf appeal with a limited-time product that plays up patriotism and historical ties to an American icon, George Washington. While the recipe is old-school, Budweiser is tapping into the growing popularity of meal and beverage delivery apps via its Drizly partnership as it looks to gain favor with millennials, who show a growing preference for mobile ordering and convenience but are buying big-name beers like Budweiser less frequently.
Budweiser previously teamed with Drizly and the ride-hailing app Lyft for a promotion around a Prohibition-themed 1933 Repeal Reserve Amber Lager in October. The latest special-edition brew, described as having a "rich caramel malt taste," is, like the Repeal Reserve lager, an appeal to younger craft beer drinkers. Budweiser's sales have steadily fallen over the past few years amid a shift in consumer preference toward more artisanal beers and also other kinds of booze like wines and spirits. Budweiser dropped out of the top three best-selling beers in the U.S. in 2017, with its market share slipping from 6.6% in 2016 to 6.2%, according to Beer Marketer's Insights data reported in USA Today.
The George Washington-inspired beer is another iteration on Budweiser's patriotic packaging. For the past two summers, the AB InBev-owned company branded its beers to say "America." Last year, Budwesier debuted camouflage packaging as part of its lineup in another nod to the armed forces and its support of Folds of Honor.