Budweiser ad stirs controversy, St. Louis craft brewers respond



Anheuser-Busch didn’t just air its classic puppy and Clydesdale ad during Super Bowl XLIX Sunday night. The St. Louis-based subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev also aired another, less heartwarming ad.

“Brewed the hard way” told viewers that Budweiser is not a craft beer and it’s not for beer geeks. That prompted the very people that A-B took a dig at in the advertisement to turn to social media, where they defend craft beer and reject the idea that sipping “pumpkin peach ale” is a bad thing.

The A-B ad, which aired during the third quarter of the Super Bowl and reportedly cost around $9 million, focused on all the ways that Budweiser is not like craft beer. “It’s not brewed to be fussed over,” and “it’s brewed for drinking not dissecting,” were among the highlights.

St. Louis craft brewers didn’t react too kindly to being called out by their neighbor, though.

O’Fallon Brewery aired its grievances by thanking A-B for a shout-out to flavors like pumpkin and peach. O’Fallon also retweeted a string of jabs from various Twitter users denouncing the brewer of Budweiser.

The Civil Life Brewing Company played up the insinuation that craft brewing is easy.

Schlafly Beer took one of the least aggressive stances, showing its pride in all beer.

Budweiser tried to smooth things over by engaging with craft beer fans on Twitter. “We respect craft brewing. Beer is for all people,” Budweiser said in one tweet. “We’re not anti-craft. Just pro-Bud!” the company asserted in several others.

But brewers like Main & Mill weren’t buying it.

Ironically, Anheuser-Busch just announced its second acquisition of a craft brewery in the last three months. In November, A-B bought Oregon’s 10 Barrel Brewing Co. And on Jan. 23, the St. Louis brewer announced plans to purchase Seattle craft brewer Elysian Brewing Co., which makes a beer — Loser Pale Ale — that carries the tagline “Corporate Beer Still Sucks.”

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