“It’s such a workhorse, there’s not a replaceable product for it. There isn’t an option where I could take Michelob Ultra off and just be able to substitute it” says Jason Murphy, manager of BWW’s beverage product innovation.
From being a beer for “connoisseurs” to beer for “fitness enthusiasts” Michelob has traversed a vacillating journey to this day.
Want to learn more about how it started and evolved to make a mark in the market?
Keep reading this article.
Origins of Your Favorite Michelob Beer
The German name for Měcholupy is Michelob, a town(in the Louny district of the Czech Republic) of Bohemian nobles who later became part of the Austrian Empire in 1804.
It received the status of “market town” after Anton Dreher, a renowned name in the brewing industry, established Drehen Brewery in 1872 at Měcholupy.
Drehen Brewery was the pioneer in the brewing world and an important figure in the development of pale lager.
At the same time around 1896, Adolphus Busch developed a 4.7% ABV pale lager called Michelob which was popularly marketed as “A draught beer of connoisseur”.
Draught beer is a beer sold in kegs rather than in bottles/cans. Michelob set their limits straight by offering an expensive lager at $8 per barrel which can only be affordable to the higher strata of society.
It was advertised as the “King of Draught Beer” and “America’s highest priced draught beer”.
Being served as a draught beer at such a higher price till the mid-1900s, it failed to create an impact on the lower rung of society. Due to this, the beer failed to popularize itself.
Keeping this in mind, In 1961 Anheuser-bosch produced pasteurized version of Michelob legal to sell in America.
This brand created havoc in the beer market when it came out with a teardrop bottle design that resembled a water droplet. For which it was awarded a medal from the institute of design in 1962.
Who would have known that to this date people will remember this teardrop design? One such remembrance tweet was “The only bottles any Michelob product should be served in.”
The love for this teardrop design is so huge that it has made Michelob think of relaunching this bottle design again in the market in near future.
Currently, Michelob is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, a beer conglomerate based in Belgium popularly called “AB InBev”.
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What Beer does Michelob Make?
A fact to be noted is that a 330ml of beer contains at least 150 calories.
People drink beer for many reasons like to enjoy, celebrate, socialize, escape problems or get drunk. But it would be icing on the cake if a beer quenches the thirst of all the previously described reasons and at the same time galloping low calories down their belly.
All the different types of beer Michelob came up with has lower carbohydrates and calories.
The types of beer Michelob produces with their details are listed below:
1. Michelob Ultra -Superior Light Beer
It’s a light lager style beer with a crisp balanced taste and subtle notes of citrus. This one is made with a perfect balance of Munich malts and European hops that pairs perfectly with simple foods like chicken salad.
Superior Light Beer has a light golden color that is low in carbohydrates and calories. It contain 4.2% ABV, 95 calories, 2.6 carbs and 0 fats per 12 fl.oz.
2. Michelob Ultra – Organic Seltzer
The organic seltzer offers a perfect blend of coconut water and fruit juice flavors like Blueberry Watermelon, Strawberry Guava, Berry Hibiscus, Mango Apricot, Kiwi Lime, etc. It’s a USDA-certified zero sugar drink that contains 4% ABV, 90 calories, and 4 carbs per 12 fl. oz.
3. Michelob Ultra – Pure Gold
The pure gold is made with the finest, selected organic grain triple filtered which gives it a pure and refreshing taste despise of no artificial flavor and color. It’s an organic alcohol with 3.8% ABV, 85 calories, and 2.5 carbs per 12 fl. oz.
Michelob light was also one of the beers which Anheuser-Busch used to sell. It was introduced as the industry’s first superpremium light beer which the company later discarded to market online along with their best-selling Michelob Ultra.
The prominent reason behind this was a sales loss of 66.3% from 2006-2011. In 2011, only 425,000 barrels were sold.
Michelob light beer is a full-flavored, rich-tasting light lager with pale kilned two-row barley malt and noble European hops. It contains 13.5% ABV, 122 calories, and 8.9 carbs per 12 oz.
Is Michelob Ultra Discontinued?
Michelob Ultra was introduced by Anheuser-Bosch in 2002. People loved the low calorie, low carbs, and refreshing taste Michelob Ultra offered.
It immediately became one of the most popular beers in the American market after Bud light and Coors light.
So, no, Michelob Ultra is not discontinued yet.
But one member of the Ultra family was discontinued because people reported it doesn’t taste good and that beer was Michelob Ultra Amber.
Michelob Ultra comes up with 3.43% ABV whereas Michelob Ultra Amber has 4.2% ABV which was not a good beer and it was light tasting which someone can’t expect in amber at all.
Also, Michelob Ultra Amber has a weird aftertaste which makes it off-putting for the general public.
People hated it to such an extent that it was named the fastest-falling beer with an approximate decline of 70% sales between 2006 to 2011.
The company sold around 5,00,000 barrels in 2006 but its hard taste led to a steep decline in sales to 1,40,000 barrels in 2011.
It was a great setback for Michelob as people discarded this brand faster than any other brand surviving in the American market.
However, the Michelob Ultra family still continued to innovate with superior light beer.
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What do People Think About Michelob Ultra Beer?
Michelob Ultra is on the hit list of people who are fitness freaks, follow a diet, and calculate their calorie intake religiously.
This beer completely aligns with their fitness goals and at the same time satisfies their inner urge to have something to drink at dinner, parties, or during leisure time.
Michelob Ultra is a pale light lager with an alcohol percentage of 4.2% made up of handpicked grains, quality barley malt, pure yeast, and European hops blended to form a low-carb and low calories people’s favorite beer.
The essence of floral and fruity aroma keeps the health-conscious customers satisfied for life.
Some people found it to be too gentle and “too watered down beer” but if we put some light on the statistics from 2012-2017, Coor Light, Millers Light, and Budweiser have lost around 25 million cases in IRI channels whereas Michelob Ultra has skyrocketed to 33 million.
This data in itself shows Michelob Ultra is the favorite of American people, especially during summers.
Americans are more mindful of their health and wellness regime and this low-calorie beer which keeps the guilt away of stocking up six-packs of Ultra in their refrigerator every week or two.
Some beer experts may rate the beer 1.13/5, 1.9/5, 2.38/5, and so on but Americans are more inclined to get the low-calorie beer down their belly.
Michelob Marketing Strategy
In the past three years, Michelob Ultra’s shipment has increased to 27%. It is thriving at times when all other beer brands are declining in progress.
This has happened only because Michelob’s marketing campaigns were successful to bridge the gap between beer lovers and their fitness goals. So they double down their marketing investment towards a healthy and fit lifestyle-loving audience.
The official Michelob commercials heavily focus on the active lifestyle and Ultra as the drink to be consumed.
The marketing team has taken a deeper look at the customer lifestyles and followed the same path as Nike and Gatorade commercials.
The wave of fitness has swamped Americans. They are more conscious about their health than before. This was the greatest hook the Michelob marketing team was able to recognize. In return, they designed all their campaigns around that hook and reeled in people’s attention.
In 2002 when Michelob Ultra was launched, that was the high time Atkins diet has taken its place on every second household dining plate.
Those were the times when every year various diet plans were launched on the market but most of them were quite bland. So, the tagline Michelob Ultra came out with “Lose the carbs. Not the taste.”
Later in 2016, when the fitness boom was all over the country, people were joining gyms, doing yoga, etc. the tagline changed to “Brew for those who go an extra mile.”
At the time of the pandemic, when every other brew brand was smashed down to the bottom Michelob grew by 22% in 2020 despite all limitations.
Due to all lazy stay-at-home provisions, they pivoted to sports for commercial purposes. NBA was on the top of this list.
Michelob moved one extra mile ahead by making the league’s bubble at ESPN Wide World of sports complex by partnering with Microsoft, they erected a 17-foot video board consisting of 320 fans inside the venue as part of Michelob Ultra Courtside.
From celebrities to normal fans everybody popped up on the screen to show their support for the league and boost the morale of the players.
Michelob Ultra’s investment in sports continued to expand in 2021 by teaming up with Olympic Sprinter Usain Bolt to encourage people to head to a bar after having a run or workout.
How and Where to Buy Michelob?
The headquarter of Anheuser-Bosch is in St. Louis(a city in Missouri) established in 1850 and it’s the home of Budweiser too. The brewery has a beautiful interior and remarkable architecture.
To make it available directly to consumers, Michelob Ultra can be found online. You can easily buy it from e-commerce stores like Instacart, Drizzly, Walmart, Fareway, and Pricespider.
In the covid-19 environment, the demand for beer’s online presence has increased and it has proven to be fruitful for all direct-to-consumer companies.
Online availability makes it easy for consumers to order beers while sitting in the comfort of their place.
In an interview with Ricardo Marques, Vice-president of Marketing for Michelob Ultra when Chief Marketers asked “What are the most important trends that marketers should be paying attention to right now?” to which he replied
“Some of them are trends that have been with us for a while, but they’ve accelerated. I’ve mentioned the move towards e-commerce.
It was already there before, but the pandemic took it to another level. We knew this before, but we are living in a very cluttered environment. There’s a lot going on in our lives every single minute.
So, the need for brands to lean on world-class creatives and tapping into creativity is ever more important, especially today. And then, innovation will continue to be a key part of that equation as well.”
The marketing game played by Michelob will make it achieve new milestones every year. Its sales and revenue is bound to increase.