Budweiser is launching a new beer line celebrating its barley-producing family farms! Harvest Reserve Deep Golden Lager is a special recipe featuring all U.S.-grown barley developed by family farmers. Jim Dixon, a fifth-generation farmer, helped develop the recipe and his signature adorns every bottle.
The new beer will be available only in Iowa and Nebraska. The exclusivity is meant to target a special market: farmers.
This is the second limited-edition lager sold by the company. As the big beer companies struggle to compete in a market now dominated by local breweries. Beer sales continue to drop, so Budweiser and its major competitors are scrambling to adopt. Budweiser’s first limited-edition beer was released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
The release comes on the heels of Bud Light’s controversial corn-syrup campaign, which drew sharp criticism from farmers following its debut during the Super Bowl. Budweiser didn’t seem to understand why the agriculture community was so upset. It started running online ads bragging about the family farmers it works with. But the corn-syrup commercials were only stopped after a judge granted MillerCoors a preliminary injunction in the resulting lawsuit.
So this new limited-edition beer is a cool thing generally. I’m glad when big companies market in a way that promotes farmers. And I’m happy for the family farms featured on the marketing and packaging. Good for them.
But I just don’t think this smooths over the corn-syrup commercials. Or completely makes everything all better. Is it a start? Maybe. I would’ve been more impressed if Budweiser pulled the corn-syrup commercials before a judge ordered them to. And an apology would’ve gone a long way.
Truthfully, I have no idea if this specialty beer is related to the company’s corn-syrup flub. Maybe they planned on releasing it regardless. And it’s quite possible something like this takes more than seven months to develop, market, and deliver. So maybe Budweiser never intended this as an olive branch.
Either way, it doesn’t make the situation all better. There’s still a rift between the beer company and the agriculture community. That’s only going to go away over time with trust and an acknowledgement that the Super Bowl campaign was bad taste. I’m still waiting.