I suppose the obvious question is: who is this beer for? People who love Bud have no reason to upgrade, people who have moved on from Bud have no reason to give them their money because they’ve found better alternatives.
I don’t disapprove of Bud having tiered products but if all you’re doing is the same style “only better” how do you give a statement like that meaning without destroying the rest of your products? Full Sail, for example, will occasionally do a lager under their house name but also markets Session, which barely mentions the Full Sail brand. The cheap Session beer doesn’t taint the other ales they make because it’s clearly different.
Black Crown is obviously branded by Bud that it doesn’t have this luxury.
In comparison, there is a very clear audience for beers brewed under this kind of vision. The link takes you to a story about how New Hampshire is encouraging nanobreweries- places that brew less than 2,000 barrels a year.
If it hasn’t happened yet, I would say that I believe this is the kind of place that companies (I hesitate to call them breweries for…admittedly elitist reasons) like Bud should put their attention towards. Use these tiny breweries to try crazy things, let your super smart scientist brewers have some fun, and when they come up with something marketable: Bingo! Widmer certainly does things like this, and some smaller breweries around town like Coalition have similar homebrewer-outreach programs, if you will.
A similar idea is used in some tech companies too, where they let their staff just play around on things once a month. It’s worked out pretty well for places like Google.
Not that I want Budweiser, or any large brewer, to be in every brewery. That’s inane.
But when people are running their own experiments to make stronger beer, it may be worth ignoring the business model for a little bit to see what unfettered imaginations can do.