What is Bud Zero, the only beer Budweiser can sell at the World Cup?
Bud Zero was a concept born from the 2014 World Cup for the American football tournament and will be introduced to soccer fans in Brazil later this summer. While the brewery has made other beer that can also compete, Bud Zero is the only beer the beer company is legally allowed to sell at soccer games in Brazil.
Bud Zero’s origins are in the World Cup. The company came up with the idea of creating a beer that competed for beer sales in Brazil, where beer sales have been falling, and the only beer allowed to be sold at soccer games is Budweiser.
“You have to make good beer but also make people want to drink it,” said Mike Cavanaugh, president and CEO of Molson Coors Brewing Co. in San Diego.
“It’s a unique solution. We’ve always said that beer brands have to be about what they are about and not about where they are from,” Cavanaugh said. “This is a great thing. It’s the first time in my life I have thought about the World Cup as a beer brand and not about who is making it.”
The brand began as an experiment when Budweiser was being challenged at the 2002 World Cup in Japan by a Japanese beer called Suntory. The Suntory beer was brewed with wheat, orange oil and soya bean.
Molson Coors decided to make the beer its own brand to compete with the Suntory brew.
“They thought they had the right formula and just made it their own,” Cavanaugh said.
The beer has a slightly darker color than its parent beer. Molson Coors wanted to make the beer distinctive enough to stand on its own without being confused with the original, but it also wanted to have a beer that people at the World Cup would still want to drink.
“At the time, we actually tried to make it like the real deal. We brewed it just like the real thing. It was interesting to see what happened,” Cavanaugh said.
Molson Coors initially made 11,000 bottles of Bud Zero. Before Budweiser could legally sell Bud Zero in Brazil, only 1,000 bottles left the U.S. factory.
Molson Coors planned to take another