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Budweiser develops a new Black Crown king of beers

1/23/2013

A guy I knew in college barely tried in class and thus barely passed with diploma in hand. Instead of books, he usually clutched a can of Budweiser, as if it were a natural appendage that grew from his palm. You know the type — the guy who trips over a curb, rolls to the ground and proudly declares from his back, hand held high, “I didn’t spill my beer!” He’s a Budweiser man — always has been, always will be.

Studying just wasn’t his thing. In his whole life, my friend managed to memorize only one passage by heart: The finely-printed words found on the sideways banner of the Bud label that begins, “This is the famous Budweiser beer…” He got so good at reciting it, that he would rattle off the words like a fast rapper and impress people at parties with his atypical articulation.

Budweiser Black Crown draws from what people love about Bud, but with a touch more hop character, a little more body and a splash more amber color, says its creator, brewmaster Bryan Sullivan.

Budweiser Black Crown draws from what people love about Bud, but with a touch more hop character, a little more body and a splash more amber color, says its creator, brewmaster Bryan Sullivan.

But now Budweiser loyals who are perhaps more distinguished than my friend have a new brew to try — the King of Beers’ latest innovation, Black Crown. Over the next few weeks, beer drinkers will start to see Black Crown perched next to the iconic King in store shelves and bar coolers throughout the nation, including most places where you can currently find Budweiser here in the metro, according to Doll Distributing marketing director Kelle Molloy.

“Budweiser Black Crown will be available in most stores and bars, similar to Budweiser. It will be premium-priced, similar to a Bud Light Lime or Platinum,” Molloy said. “We have several samplings coming up during Super Bowl week.”

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The locations of those samplings have yet to be announced, but the new brand was unveiled on Jan. 21 and is currently available for purchase. But Budweiser guys tend to be creatures of habit who are exceptionally loyal to their brand. So getting them to change up their hops is about as hair-pulling as getting my old college buddy to go to class.                

“Our research shows that after beer drinkers try Budweiser Black Crown, 84 percent would purchase it,” said senior brand manager Nate Scudieri. “It stays true to the original Budweiser recipe but has its own unique take.”               

Scudieri’s confidence stems from the experiments that led to the development of Black Crown. It started about a year ago when Budweiser big wigs asked their 12 brewmasters to come up with a unique version of their most popular brands based on the opinions of the people who love them. Twelve recipes, six brews sampled nationally and 25,000 consumer comments later, Black Crown transcended from an experimental “Project 12” flavor to its own marketable brand of golden amber lager blended with a two-row caramel malt and four types of domestic hops. It’s finished on a bed of Beechwood chips, which gives it a smooth, balanced taste that Budweiser brewers agree will win over even the most stubborn Bud drinkers. Oh, and it has a higher potency, too, at 6 percent alcohol by volume.                

“It didn’t matter where in the United States we asked, this is the beer that consistently drew the best feedback, and overwhelmingly so,” said Rob McCarthy, Budweiser vice president. CV

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