USA: AB InBev Elevates Michelob Ultra to Global Brand Status

In a recent investor presentation, AB InBev has upgraded its low-calorie lager, Michelob Ultra, to the prestigious status of a "global brand," positioning it for intensified competition with Dutch rival Heineken, Reuters reported today.

Previously, AB InBev had only conferred this title upon three of its heavyweight labels – Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois. However, the investor presentation held on Tuesday now includes Michelob Ultra, which has already achieved significant success in the U.S., as part of this elite group.

During the presentation, Chief Marketing Officer Marcel Marcondes highlighted that the company now considers Corona as its "leading horse" on a global scale. In the no-alcohol category, the alcohol-free version, Corona Cero, will be AB InBev's primary focus.

These strategic moves position AB InBev to directly challenge its rival, Heineken, whose new light beer, Heineken Silver, aims to capture market share in the crucial U.S. market. Heineken's non-alcoholic beer Heineken 0.0% is also the global leader in its category. (, 16.2.2022)

Light beers, known for their lower calorie and carbohydrate content, are gaining popularity as consumers increasingly prioritize health-conscious choices. In the U.S., AB InBev's Bud Light previously dominated this category but lost its top position following controversy over a social media promotion involving transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney (, 14.4.2023)

Kyle Norrington, U.S. Chief Commercial Officer, emphasized the significance of Michelob Ultra, stating, "Michelob Ultra is obviously a top priority for us. This brand has a unique positioning in consumers' minds, we have a proven success case and clear potential for growth in the U.S. and beyond." Other speakers also noted the brand's growth potential in markets such as China.

Meanwhile, Corona has been the driver of growth and continues to have substantial growth opportunities ahead. Marcondes highlighted the "long runway" for Corona. Brian Perkins, West Europe President of the company, added that Corona Cero would be their primary global proposition in the no-alcohol beer category.

Furthermore, AB InBev sees opportunities in markets with limited drinking populations, such as Saudi Arabia, where the brand is set to be launched soon.

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