Budweiser's Project 12 Small Batch Beers

The craft beer market segment has been rapidly growing over the past decade. It's a lucrative business and the big guys want a piece of the action. Miller-Coors owns the Blue Moon and Leinenkugel brands. Anheuser-Busch InBev owns Shock Top, Goose Island, and even 32.2% of Craft Brew Alliance (parent company of Widmer Brothers, Redhook and Kona Brewing). Craft beer geeks are likely to argue that Blue Moon, Leinenkugel, and Shock Top are not true craft beers, but that's a discussion for another day.

Anheuser-Busch recently launched "Project 12". Budweiser is brewed in 12 cites across the US. Each of the AB brewmasters was asked to create a variation of Budweiser. The resulting brews were narrowed down to six beers (labels shown in this post). Based on consumer feedback, Budweiser will release the top three as part of a limited edition sampler pack this fall.

While "Small Batch" is a relative term, Budweiser seems to be borrowing a play from the craft brewer playbook. It's a smart move. After all, if you can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em! However, this has me wondering who the Budweiser marketing folks are targeting with Project 12. Are they wooing existing Bud consumers, casual craft beer drinkers, or craft beer geeks?

My guess is they're going after macro and casual craft beer drinkers. I highly doubt craft beer geeks will be interested in Project 12—and I expect AB is fully aware of this. However, since craft beer geeks are a relatively small part of the market, they aren't needed to make this a successful experiment.

What do you think about Project 12? Are you likely to try any of these beers?  I think Batch 23185, a light-amber all-malt bourbon cask lager aged on bourbon staves and vanilla beans, looks the most intriguing.  However, if none of these look appealing to you, you can always try the Budweiser & Clamato Chelada.  Yum....

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  1. I would never try one of these beers, but then again I can't stand the macro breweries...I agree, these are for the macro brewery drinkers who sometimes dabble in "craft beer" like Blue Moon and Shock Top.

  2. I wonder if any place in PDX will bother to carry these. I'd be willing to try a couple if I saw any in a particular style I was interested about.

  3. Just the Bud name on it will keep me away.

  4. I'm not a Budweiser fan, but a few of the batches (91406, 23185, and 80524) seem like they could be interesting. Since I write about beer, I'd be open to trying them.

    Sonoma and Gsoroos, just curious, what do you think of craft brewers (like Blue Moon and Goose Island) that have been acquired by the big guys? Would you stay away from their beers too? Or is it just the macro brands that turn you off?

  5. I've never had Goose Island, but when I was first starting drinking beer, I thought Blue Moon was great. My tastes have changed over the years, and now, I personally don't enjoy the taste, and also knowing it's owned by Coors turns me off.

  6. The bud project 12 beers are AWESOME!! I love beer and these three beers hit the nail on the head. Do yourself some justice and buy a 12 pack. I like bud Light, however its boring.


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