ST. LOUIS -- Budweiser Black Crown, the winning recipe from Budweiser's "Project 12" experiment, is now a new brand available for purchase starting Monday, Jan. 21. The new golden amber lager will take its place on the national stage less than two weeks later when its first 30-second TV advertisement airs during Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, Feb. 3.
With a blend of two-row caramel malt and four types of domestic hops, Budweiser Black Crown is finished on a bed of Beechwood chips for a smooth, balanced taste. Incorporating the proprietary yeast directly descended from the original Budweiser yeast strain used by Adolphus Busch in 1876, Budweiser Black Crown retains the key characteristics of Budweiser with its clean taste and high drinkability. Featuring more body, color and hop character than the flagship lager, it also has a slightly higher alcohol content at 6% alcohol by volume (ABV).
The beer will be sold nationwide in 12-ounce glass bottles available in six- and 12-packs and in 22-ounce single bottles. It will be available both on-premise (bars and restaurants) and off-premise (grocery stores, supermarkets and convenience stores).
The packaging for Budweiser Black Crown is distinctive and modern, with the crown "design cues" on the bottle and secondary packaging a nod to the history and heritage of Budweiser, Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser.
He said Budweiser Black Crown will debut a TV spot during the Super Bowl XLVII broadcast. "We've set our sales-to-retailers date for Jan. 21 so we're fully ready for sales on Super Bowl Sunday."
The beer's national advertising campaign also includes outdoor, digital, radio and print. In social media, the new brand will have interactive consumer programs on Facebook and Twitter that are designed to be participatory. The campaign will feature the Twitter hashtag #TASTEIS.
"Our research shows that after beer drinkers try Budweiser Black Crown, 84% would purchase it," said Nate Scudieri, senior brand manager for Budweiser Black Crown.
Budweiser Black Crown is brewed at Anheuser-Busch's breweries in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Columbus, Ohio and Williamsburg, Va.
The company filmed the Super Bowl commercial in Los Angeles last month, directed by Samuel Bayer, whose previous Super Bowl work includes a spot that won an Emmy for best commercial.
The Budweiser Black Crown recipe was the creation of Los Angeles brewmaster Bryan Sullivan and was the crowd favorite among the more than 25,000 adult drinkers from coast to coast who participated in the brand's Project 12 sampling initiative.
"It didn't matter where in the United States we asked, this is the beer that consistently drew the best feedback, and overwhelmingly so," said McCarthy.
During the process that led to Budweiser Black Crown, Sullivan and his fellow Budweiser brewmasters personally sampled the beer with consumers to get their direct feedback. Sullivan collaborated with Fairfield, Calif., brewmaster Scott Ungermann and Houston brewmaster Dave Cohen to perfect the recipe.
"People respond really well to Budweiser Black Crown, which has a little more body and color and a touch more hop character than our flagship Budweiser lager," said Sullivan, who heard from beer drinkers during a sampling program at the Budweiser Made in America music festival over Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia. "As brewmasters we spend most of our time in the brewhouse. Project 12 gave us a chance to hear firsthand from the people we brew our beers for. Budweiser Black Crown is a great beer and it is a thrill for our whole brewing team to see it launch with a Super Bowl spot."
Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch brews Budweiser and Bud Light among many other brands. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev.