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A-B LOOKS TO BOOST ICE DRAFT; BUD SALES UP IN JAPAN
Published November 2, 1994
After "blasting" competitors for selling ice beers with higher alcohol levels, Anheuser-Busch is "quietly shipping a higher-alcohol version of its Ice Draft from Budweiser to three of its key Midwestern markets." New Ice Draft shipments to OH, MI and Chicago show the beer's alcohol content at 5.5%, up from 5%. Bud's Ice Draft had been the only ice beer at premium alcohol level, with A-B "claiming anything higher would be irresponsible." Ice Draft's supermarket share has slipped from 2% to 1%, but A-B executives say they are happy with the beer and "plan heavy support" for it in '95. Senior Brand Manager Mike LaBroad "termed the change a trivial one" driven by consumers used to full-bodied Canadian ice beers. Miller Brewing President John Bowlin said he was "not surprised": "Welcome to Miller time" (Gerry Khermouch, BRANDWEEK, 10/31 issue). THIS YEN'S FOR YOU: An NBC News report on American beer sales in Japan reveals that Coors sold 1.2M cases there last year, but that Budweiser sold 8M. Foreign beers only make up 4% of the Japanese market, "but the market, even in Japan, is changing." Over video of a pitcher emblazoned with the Bud logo, NBC's Lucky Severson: "The Japanese usually like things that are ultra-American, like Bud. And red and white are their favorite colors" (NBC, 11/1).