With the Memorial Day weekend ahead, Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light is announcing its "Bud Light: Certified Fresh" program, which pledges to replace old beer at COVID-19-shuttered bars and restaurants finally opening up all over the nation.
“Announcing” is probably the operative word, though. Distributors and wholesalers that deliver Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch products have been at work for a while freshening up beer stock that may have been getting close to its sell-by date. Announcing Certified Fresh was more of a “consumer-facing” announcement, a spokeswoman said.
“We figured this weekend would be a good on-premise moment, where customers might be really looking forward to their first Bud Light" at the tavern or restaurant they frequent, she said, “So now, more than ever, they are wondering, will it be a good experience?”
The Certified Fresh program seems to be a way for the nation’s best-selling beer to make sure it is indeed fresh -- and salute its wholesalers by giving them a little acknowledgement of their importance.
"‘Bud Light: Certified Fresh’ encompasses every aspect of our industry-leading quality assurance process and allows us to support the people behind bars and restaurants when they need it the most,” said Brendan Whitworth, chief sales officer for Anheuser-Busch, in a statement. “When they reopen, they can welcome customers back with the best quality Bud Light.”
It appears other beer brands have been doing the same thing, but without shouting about it. At the upstate Oxford Tavern in tiny Oxford, N.Y., Dave Benedict, a bartender there, said Anheuser-Busch replaced beer there about two weeks ago. Asked if other beer brands also refreshed their beers, he answered, “All of them, I think.”
A third of Bud Light’s sales come from on-premise retailers -- bars, restaurants and arenas -- so it’s a segment to which attention must be paid.
In the early days of the pandemic, Bud Light launched #OpenForTakeout, which invited retailers to list themselves on a newly created website directory so customers could find bars and restaurants that were serving takeout food.
Customers who ordered at least $10 worth of food from one of those places could send in their receipt and later receive a coupon to have that rebated once the place reopened for regular service.
Anheuser-Busch early on donated $1 million to the U.S. Bartenders Guild’s Bartender Emergency Assistance Program for its COVID-19 relief and response program, and another $1 million to local and regional organizations aimed at helping bar and restaurant workers.