Sunday, May 21, 2006

Legally it's not actually beer

It was almost sacreligious. Fans crowding the stadiums for the 2006 World Cup would be limited to only one brand of beer to wet their whistles -- Budweiser, the product of US brewery Anheuser Busch.

Bud's owners had laid down $40 million for the rights to be one of the World Cup's main sponsors, and in return, were given a monopoly on beer sales in the World Cup stadiums.

While Budweiser might be a top seller in the US, in Germany -- renowned for the variety and purity of its brews -- Bud is looked down on with scornful disdain. It's watery and lacks any "kick," say those who know what real beer should taste like. In fact, since its recipe includes rice, it doesn't actually qualify as a beer under German law. For German soccer fans, things were looking grim.

Bitburger saves the day

But politicians and breweries refused to accept defeat, and eventually the head of marketing at German brewery Bitburger emerged triumphant. Bitburger has signed an agreement with Anheuser Busch that will allow its brand of pilsner to be sold alongside Budweiser.

The ace up Bitburger's sleeve? Years ago, the brewery had obtained a court ruling in its favor forbidding the advertising of Budweiser in Germany because there was a danger that German consumers would confuse "Bit" with "Bud."

Bitte, ein Bit!

1 comment:

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