Budweiser Black Crown, the latest of Anheuser-Busch's higher-alcohol beers, will hit shelves across the country on Monday. The beer has been sold in St. Louis for several weeks now.
The new recipe is the result of a challenge, called “Project 12” among the company’s 12 brewmasters.
The new take on classic Bud features a stronger hop flavor and higher alcohol content, about 6 percent.
Benj Steinman, editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights says the move comes as mass-market brands face increasing pressure from craft beer, wine and spirits.
"They’re playing to the trends,” Steinman said. "I mean there’s been an increased predilection for innovation, flavor, and variety. Also, a little more alcohol, a little sweeter, these are also on trend."
Budweiser sales by volume dipped 6 to 7 percent last year.
Steinman says attention-grabbing gimmicks have become more important as legacy brands like Bud try to remain relevant in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
"There’s just more need for innovation in the beer business, than really there ever has been,” he said. "Secondly, beer has been losing share to distilled spirits for some time."
Sales of Budweiser were down about 6 percent through September of last year.
Bud Black Crown will get its advertising debut during a 30-second ad Super Bowl ad.
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