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A-B InBev rolls out new product in time for Super Bowl

Anheuser-Busch InBev's line of Beck's Sapphire beer sits on display at the company's downtown St. Louis bottling plant on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

Several new Anheuser-Busch beers that failed to catch on will soon be discontinued.

The brewer notified wholesalers this week that it’s pulling the plug on Budweiser Black Crown, Busch Signature, Oculto, Mixxtails, Michelob Ultra Light Cider, Beck’s Dark and Beck’s Sapphire next spring.

Some of the beverages were new to the market. The Oculto tequila flavored beer, targeted to millennials, was just rolled out last year. Sales of Montejo, a regional beer, will be limited to California and Texas while A-B focuses on Estrella Jalisco.

Bud Light Mixxtails also were short-lived. The cocktail-inspired beverage line that came in Long Island Iced Tea, Firewalker and Hurricane flavors was introduced in February 2015.

Some had longer runways but still didn’t find a following. A-B invested heavily to market Budweiser Black Crown and Beck’s Sapphire with ads airing during the Super Bowl in 2013, but both are being phased out.

Discontinuing the Beck’s line extensions is intended to help the brewer focus on the Pilsner flagship to deliver stronger execution and build brand equity, A-B’s letter stated.

Shock Top’s Raspberry Wheat and Honeycrisp Ale will also be discontinued, in addition to Raz-Ber-Rita, Cran-Ber-Rita, Lime-A-Rita Picante and Lime-A-Rita Splash.

A-B plans to replace the Rita departures with a new Grape-A-Rita nationally and a pilot launching of Orange-A-Rita. A new Pineapple Splash also will be introduced.

“Anheuser-Busch is consistently looking for ways to optimize our portfolio and deliver the right brands at the right time,” an A-B spokeswoman said in an email to the Post-Dispatch. “As part of that continual evaluation, we’ve decided to discontinue or re-align a selection of low-volume brands and flavor variants this spring. This proactive approach to will allow us to prioritize our core offerings and make room for exciting new products.”

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Lisa Brown is Business Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.