What is Bud Zero, the only beer Budweiser can sell at the World Cup?


New York
CNN Business

In a surprising reversal, Qatar announced that alcoholic beer will be banned in the eight stadiums hosting the World Cup. This leaves fans with only one “beer” option – albeit one that isn’t drunk.

Football fans will still be able to purchase Bud Zero, a non-alcoholic beer that Anheuser-Busch says tastes similar to its best-selling alcoholic beverage.

One serving of Pod Zero contains 0 grams of sugar and 50 calories. The beer, Bud’s first non-alcoholic beer, launched in the US two years ago, targeting the growing trend of people opting for non-alcoholic beer.

Non-alcoholic alternatives to wine have been around for a while, but the sector has been booming lately. The non-alcoholic trend started to pick up a year or two before the pandemic and has continued to grow at a rapid pace. The demand for non-alcoholic alternatives has been largely driven by young consumers.

Qatar is a very conservative Islamic country, tightly regulating the sale and use of alcoholic beverages. In September, officials said fans with tickets would be able to purchase an alcoholic beer three hours before kick-off and for an hour after the final whistle, but not during the match.

“Following discussions between the host country authorities and FIFA, a decision was taken to focus on the sale of alcoholic beverages at the FIFA Fan Fest, other fan destinations and licensed venues, and to remove beer sales points from the vicinity of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar stadium,” said FIFA, FIFA’s governing body. foot, in a statement Friday.

FIFA indicated that the decision would have “no impact” on sales of Bud Zero.

Budweiser tweeted, “Well, that’s embarrassing,” though the social media post was quickly deleted.

“As partners of FIFA for more than three decades, we look forward to energizing FIFA World Cup campaigns around the world to celebrate football with our customers,” a spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch InBev said in a statement. “Some of the planned stadium activities cannot go ahead due to circumstances beyond our control.”

It’s a little embarrassing for AB InBev, which is a major sponsor of the World Cup and had been planning to sell Bud regularly. Just a few days ago, reports showed World Cup workers moving beer tents to less visible areas of stadiums.

AB InBev paid $75 million for the sponsorship, according to multiple reports. Therefore, the decision puts some pressure on their marketing plans as the decision significantly reduces its presence to the thousands of fans at the World Cup. However, arguably the biggest part – his TV commercials with King of Football Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. – will not be affected.

“Qatar’s decision to ban all types of alcoholic beverages in the stadiums of the upcoming FIFA World Cup just days before it begins creates an illusion that FIFA has no control over its own tournament and risks disqualifying Budweiser – the main sponsor and long-term partner of the referee,” said Konrad Wisek, head of sports analysis at GlobalData, in an email.

The decision could have ramifications for the future, Wiacek said, noting that Budweiser’s partnership with the World Cup ends after this year’s event.

However, Budweiser will be wary of burning his bridges with the governing body, as the 2026 US Championship will be highly valuable. Going elsewhere will allow other alcohol brands to follow in their wake.”

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 kicks off on Sunday and will run until December 18.

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