A-B Continues Faux Craft Brands
Look-alike craft beers sold only in regional markets
Anheuser-Busch has introduced a new “specialty” faux craft beer called Skipjack Amber. Brewed at the A-B Williamsburg brewery, the beer will be sold only in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The Williamsburg creation is the sixth such regional beer brand in an effort to let its breweries develop new regional products aimed at slowing the market share growth of authentic craft beer.
Anheuser-Busch has tried in the past to branch into niche alcohol markets with products such as B-to-the-E, beer enhanced with caffeine and ginseng, specialty drinks and with its recent acquisition of import brands from InBev.
A team led by brewmaster Dan Driskill created Skipjack Amber, which is named as an homage to the Chesapeake Bay sailboat. The beer is described as "medium-bodied beer characterized by a rich caramel and roasted nut taste" that is "balanced by a complex blend of citrus, floral and spicy hop aromas."
Anheuser-Busch has started selling six new beers over the past year in different parts of the country surrounding a brewery. For example, the Collins, Colo., Anheuser-Busch brewery recently introduced Ascent 54, which will only be available in Colorado.
Skipjack Amber will have an eye-catching tap handle featuring a fish wearing sunglasses and holding the beer and a plaque with a picture of a skipjack sailboat. The Williamsburg group designed the tap and the brand, not just the beer.
The beer will initially be available on draught in select bars and restaurants in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Big Brewers and Craft Beers.
As I have said elsewhere before all Craft Brewers need to be aware of their competition -no matter how big and how small. I'd get a hold of this beer and see how it goes down and follow its market trend. If it does well react appropriately - these guys do know what they are doing. You need to market your wares accordingly. If it does not do so well - then relax. They have the size and the money to produce consistently good quality beer - regardless of your definition of taste and quality. Your stregth is still in producing small batch craft beer with a bit of desired variability - each batch is unique - market as different, unique, artisinal, local. If you fail as a brewer it is likely not the big guys fault. Wish you continued small-scale success.