Michelob to become a craft beer brand?

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Michelob Brewing Co., a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch, said Monday that it would kick off an advertising campaign, offer some seasonal varieties year-round, and bring some other A-B beers under the Michelob nameplate and give them all consistent, new packaging.

It looks like Anheuser-Busch is diving headlong into the craft beer market by branding several craft beers, or “classic style” beers as they say, as Michelob. The beers to be offered are Michelob Dunkel Weisse, Michelob Pale Ale, Michelob AmberBock, Michelob Honey Lager, Michelob Porter, Shock Top Belgian White organic Stone Mill Pale Ale, and seasonal beers Jack?s Pumpkin Spice Ale, Winter?s Bourbon Cask Ale, Sun Dog Amber Wheat and Beach Bum Blonde Ale.

I noticed on the Michelob website that their slogan is “Crafting a better beer.” Is that new? I think it is interesting that A-B would dedicate an entire brand to craft beer. I have said before that this is evidence of America’s maturing beer palette.? However, this could be bad news for microbreweries which can’t compete with Michelob on price and distribution scale. However, if the Michelob beers are watered-down versions of craft beers, they will never be able to compete with true full-flavored craft beers.

The only beer I have personally had from their line-up is Shock Top, which AB seemed embarrased to offer. It was a decent beer but not outstanding for a Belgian Wheat by any means. If it is representative of Michelob’s craft collection, real beer lovers will not abandon their microbrew favs for Michelob. This may even help the micros in the long run. If people who normally drink industrial beers try Michelob, they may get a taste of what real beer is and make the leap to craft beers.

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