American currency has long held claim to being the only thing found in bars that boasts the phrase “E Pluribus Unum.” This summer, Budweiser wants to change that by rebranding itself as “America” and peppering its packaging with that very phrase, alongside some others like “Liberty and Justice for All” and “Indivisible Since 1776.”
Budweiser’s proposed label for this summer. (Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau)
That’s right. The company wants to replace “Budweiser,” the name of the beer, with the word “America,” the name of our country, for the summer. According to AdAge, Anheuser-Busch InBev has filed the above label for approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
In addition to the aforementioned phrases, the word-heavy label would include, in all capital letters, the following: “Land of the Free,” “Home of the Brave” and “From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters this land was made for you and me.”
Don’t worry — there’s more. It’s topped with a diamond containing “U.S.” and a smaller “United States of America” and that is topped with the lyrics from the first four bars of the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
It’s hard to imagine a more patriotic label, particularly for a brand that’s not even technically American. In 2008, Anheuser-Busch was purchased by InBev, a beer conglomerate based in Belgium and Brazil.
Still, Budweiser’s advertising team works tirelessly to maintain the beer’s image as an American institution. Anyone who has ever tuned into the radio for more than 15 minutes has surely heard “Brewed in St. Louis, Mo.” And, heck, having a cold Budweiser was basically all Peyton Manning could talk about just moments after becoming the oldest NFL quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl (even though he wasn’t paid to endorse the brand).
Lately, the company’s been injecting enough patriotism into their ads to make a Donald Trump-supporting bald eagle blush. One of the cans the beer comes in features stars and stripes in the classically American red, white and blue color palette. Limited-edition packaging included the Statue of Liberty. In a Super Bowl commercial from 2016, titled “Not Backing Down,” the beer is boldly announced as “NOT IMPORTED.”
And it’s not the only beer that uses American patriotism in its advertising. After news outlets began reporting that Pabst would be sold to the Russian company Oasis — a sale that never actually happened — people around the Internet were outraged, prompting Pabst to tweet an image of a Pabst can saluting and the message “Pabst will remain American owned and operated.”
Beer’s origins are certainly important to some drinkers, a lesson Anheuser-Busch InBev learned the hard way. American beer drinkers who thought the company’s Beck’s Beer was made in Germany received $20 million in a class action suit against Anheuser-Busch InBev, according to The Associated Press. The beer’s packaging stated that it originated in Bremen, Germany. That’s true, but the label did not mention that it’s now brewed in St. Louis. The company was also forced to reimburse customers who thought that Kirin Ichiban was imported from Japan.
Anheuser-Busch InBev U.S. Marketing VP Jorn Socquet declined to comment on the packaging but did tell AdAge that the Fourth of July and the Olympics will play a role in brand’s summer advertising.
“You have this wave of patriotism that is going to go up and down throughout the summertime,” Socquet said. “And we found with Budweiser such a beautiful angle to play on that sentiment.”
So, if approved, we might be asking picnic guests to grab a case of “America” come this July Fourth.