Michelob ULTRA set for UK launch

–        AB InBev brings fastest growing beer brand in the US to the UK market 

–        79 calorie premium lager brings opportunity for retailers to capitalise on consumer trend for moderation and wellness

AB InBev, the world’s leading brewer, is celebrating Global Be(er) Responsible Day by revealing it will launch its iconic Michelob ULTRA brand in the UK; a premium light[1] beer that doesn’t compromise on taste. Michelob ULTRA has been brewed for those who care about wellness and enjoying a beer to complement a balanced, active and social lifestyle.

The fastest growing beer brand in the US, in terms of volume and value share for the past three years[2], Michelob ULTRA is now aiming to replicate that success in the UK. The UK launch responds directly to the trend for leading an active lifestyle and demand for reduced-calorie and lower-alcohol options[3], with the Superior Light Beer providing an exciting addition to the beer category.

British drinkers are demonstrating a taste for lower-strength brews – beer brewed to between 0.5% and 3.5% ABV – according to market data from Nielsen. In the 12 months to July 2018, consumers bought more than 61 million pints of low-alcohol beer, representing 34% growth on the same period last year.

Michelob ULTRA, brewed at 3.5% ABV with 79 calories, will begin rolling-out nationwide in major supermarkets and chain convenience stores from October. This year retailers will be able to stock the sleek, 355ml can in single, six and 12-pack formats, with the distinctive blue and white packaging design, instantly recognisable Stateside, ensuring stand out on shelf.  Bottle format will follow next year as Michelob ULTRA will also start appearing across a wide range of on-trade outlets from Spring 2019 in bottle and draught format, as well as in cans.

The launch is being supported by a national multimedia advertising campaign, involving print, digital and out-of-home media, which will focus on the beer’s light qualities and functional benefits. Sampling and large-scale brand partnerships will also be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Matt Leadbeater, Senior Brand Manager, Michelob ULTRA, commented: Drinking beer can sometimes seem at odds with living an active life, but it doesn’t have to be. The launch of Michelob ULTRA signals an exciting new option for retailers looking to cater to increasing consumer demand for products that complement a balanced lifestyle. Michelob ULTRA has been a runaway success in the U.S. and other new markets globally and we’re confident we can replicate that in the UK as more people look to brands that suit their balance of an active and social life.”

Michelob ULTRA is the latest beer in AB InBev’s low and no-alcohol portfolio in the UK, which already includes the market-leading alcohol-free beers Beck’s Blue, Budweiser Prohibition and the low-alcohol Bud Light, which is brewed to 3.5% ABV. The expansion of this portfolio is part of AB InBev’s Global Smart Drinking Goals, which includes a pledge that 20 per cent of its global beer volumes will be low-to-no alcohol by 2025, alongside deeper investments in programmes that measurably shift social norms and behaviours around the harmful use of alcohol.

[1] A light-tasting premium beer: 40% lower calories than most premium beers

[2] One Source of Truth; Net Revenue Growth vs LY 2016, December YTP

[3] Mintel Alcoholic Drinks Review February 2018