If White Claw is the unofficial beverage of the college-age crowd, Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer is vying to win over a more “mature” segment of seltzer drinkers.
With its first product launch of 2021, Anheuser-Busch is continuing to build out its expansive array of hard seltzer offerings with yet another beer brand extension, joining both Bud Light Seltzer and Natural Light Seltzer.
The alcohol conglomerate’s latest hard seltzer brand to hit the market gets its release next week. Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer represents an attempt to double down on the attributes that have buoyed the category to unprecedented success over the past couple years. The marketing plan places special emphasis on the drink being low in calories, sugar-free and light on alcohol content.
Hard seltzer crowd’s fight for shelf space
The hard seltzer space seems to get more crowded by the minute. Michelob Ultra was clearly mindful of that perception. To brand managers, the question of differentiation was ever more relevant. According to Michelob Ultra vp of marketing Ricardo Marques, developing and marketing a truly distinct product was the impetus for creating this new seltzer brand.
“We realized in talking to consumers that some of these drinkers did not see themselves reflected in the current [market] propositions,” Marques told reporters at a virtual tasting this week. “They were looking for an offering that would be a little bit more premium, more mature and more sophisticated. Most brands were centered in the 21- to 25-year-old demographic.”
For healthy grown-ups (mainly)
Marques sees Michelob Ultra’s seltzer offering as the grown-up response to some of the Gen Z and millennial-focused brands, aiming instead for the 35-plus segment. “These are drinkers that are looking exactly for what a brand like Michelob Ultra has credibility on—health and wellness, lower carb and great taste.”
Michelob Ultra Hard Seltzer comes in three initial flavors: spicy pineapple, cucumber lime and peach pear. The new seltzer brand’s advertising highlights that it has no “artificial aftertaste.” That’s something that Anheuser-Busch senior operations manager Chrissy Davenport said can happen when low-calorie seltzers use artificial sweeteners in the blend.
The certified USDA organic beverage is also filtered six times, giving it the “clean finish” that the brewers were aiming for, said Davenport.
The first TV commercial for Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer dropped this week and will run nationally. Anheuser-Busch hasn’t yet revealed whether the new brand will be getting a slot in the Super Bowl.