- Natural Light is launching"Naturadays" — a strawberry lemonade-flavored beer.
- Anheuser-Busch, Natural Light’s parent company, is trying to win over millennials and Gen Zers with fruity brews as beer sales drop.
- "We’re trying to get people to rethink beer — especially people who maybe have dismissed beer and moved away," Daniel Blake, Anheuser-Busch’s senior director of value brands, told Business Insider.
One of the biggest trends in beer is brews that don’t actually taste like beer.
This week, Natural Light launched Naturdays: a strawberry lemonade-flavored beer. With a pink-and-yellow can and a fruity flavor, the brew is a significant departure from the Natty Light standard. And, it represents a seismic shift in the world of beer, as beer giants struggle to win over millennials and Gen Zers.
The beer’s target audience is day-drinking men and women in their 20s, including many who are just developing their drinking preferences — especially those who are not completely sold on beer.
"It’s definitely people who are non-beer drinkers — people who might not like the taste of beer, but with something that might have more of a fruit flavor, they might be interested," Daniel Blake, Anheuser-Busch’s senior director of value brands, told Business Insider.
"But it’s also people who drink beer infrequently or people who drink beer and then switch to something else later in the day," Blake continued. "I think what we found is beers that have the fruit flavor and [are] still refreshing and super sessionable can appeal to a lot of different people."
This isn’t Anheuser-Busch’s only attempt to cash in on beer haters. In 2018, AB InBev launched Bud Light Orange and Lime. This year, the beer giant is planning to debut Bud Light Lemon Tea.
"We developed Bud Light Orange, as well as lemon tea, for summertime, because we know that this is when people go for flavors," AB InBev’s US CMO Marcel Marcondes recently told Business Insider. "We know that when temperatures are up, people are outside. This is when they mix different things and they look for new propositions."
The fruity beer boom is driven in large part by the fact that many younger drinkers don’t actually like beer all that much.
"Flavor is one of those huge barriers," Blake said. "Flavor preferences are just changing, and generally people like things that are a little bit sweeter."
While once beer was the assumed go-to for twenty-somethings, today’s millennials and Gen Zers have many more options. Wine and spirits have eaten into beer’s market share over the last decade, while sales of spiked seltzer have exploded in just the last few years.
"I started drinking alcoholic beverages by drinking beer. … That’s what happened to pretty much everybody before," Marcondes said. "That is maybe the main change today. This is not the case anymore."
As a result, beer giants are adapting. Bud Light and Natural Light will continue to be sold in their classic forms. While Bud Light sales dropped more than 5% last year, it remains the best-selling beer in the US.
But, increasingly, Anheuser-Busch is looking for new ways to convince beer haters to try a sip. While Blake says it is too early to announce any other potential Naturdays flavors, he told Business Insider that the company is exploring other offerings.
"We’re trying to get people to rethink beer — especially people who maybe have dismissed beer and moved away," Blake said. "We want to have them rethink their drink of choice. And we think with Naturadays, the refreshing blend of a strawberry lemonade, we have a winner."
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