ST. LOUIS -- "Project 12" started in the early spring when Budweiser asked its 12 U.S. brewmasters to write a unique beer recipe worthy of the Budweiser name. Six of the recipes were chosen to be brewed in small batches. Now, after a summer-long nationwide sampling effort involving thousands of consumers at dozens of events, U.S. beer drinkers have provided feedback, which helped Budweiser decide which three beers would be available for sale in a limited-edition sampler pack this fall.
The winning recipes, named for the ZIP code in which the beer was originally brewed, are from brewmasters at the Budweiser breweries in Los Angeles, St. Louis and Williamsburg, Va.
Consumers tasted and gave feedback about the Project 12 beers. This included approximately 10,000 festivalgoers to the Budweiser Made in America music festival in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend, where the brewmasters personally sampled the beers and asked for feedback. At other sampling events, brand ambassadors asked consumers to describe the taste, freshness, style and flavor of the six Project 12 beers, and to choose their favorites. Consumers also were able to enter feedback onsite via iPad stations.
"We've never done anything like this before," said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser. "With all this feedback from consumers, I guess you can call this the largest focus group in Budweiser history, maybe even beer history. There really were no winners or losers with Project 12, but we wound up with three great beers that slightly edged out the others. It certainly wasn't an easy choice. Best of all, we listened to what our beer drinkers told us and we let them help us make the decision about what to bring to stores."
The limited edition sampler pack, available for sale starting on October 29, is a 12-bottle package containing four each of the special ZIP code beers. These beers are:
Budweiser will continue to request feedback from beer drinkers on these three beers. Via a QR code on the package, as well as an in-pack flighting sheet, the brand is asking consumers their opinions of these three new Budweiser-inspired beers. The flighting sheet also includes tasting notes and details about each beer for in-home tastings.
While not available in the fall sampler pack, the Project 12 beers developed in Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; and Fort Collins, Colo. also received favorable feedback from consumers, creating a task for the team responsible for paring the six Project 12 beers to three.
All the beers developed for Project 12 pay homage to Budweiser's taste by using the proprietary yeast directly descended from the original Budweiser yeast culture used by Adolphus Busch in 1876. The yeast is still used by Budweiser today.
"Budweiser is an exacting style of beer to brew," said Peter Kraemer, a fifth-generation brewmaster who leads Anheuser-Busch's brewing operations in North America. "Our brewmasters are responsible for one of the world's most technically challenging beers and are able to make a high-quality beer that is consistent all over the United States and the world. Project 12 was a way for our world-class brewmasters to have fun experimenting with new ingredients, flavors and brewing processes to bring beer lovers some new options inspired by our flagship beer."