(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – College students bored with the taste and effects of regular beer can put their lips to “B-to-the-E,” the newest creation by America’s number one selling beer company, Anheuser-Busch. The concept: Beer with caffeine.
“Sounds like it’s going to suck. Why do you need an energy drink, for beer? I don’t want to be a hyperactive drunk, I want to relax. If I want to get all crazy, I’ll take a few shots,” said George Washington University junior, Matthew Gillmor.
B-to-the-E, which stands for “beer with something extra,” was launched in 55 U.S. test markets in October and is now being sold at bars and stores nationwide. It comes in a 10 oz. can with 6.6 percent alcohol by volume and contains about 54 milligrams of caffeine, comparable to half a cup of coffee.
“Contemporary adults thirst for variety and what’s new, and our B-to- the-E delivers a beverage that is true to their lifestyles and range of drinking occasions,” said Pat McGauley, senior director of NewProducts and High End Brands, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “Our new B-to-the-E provides caffeine, guarana, and ginseng in a great tasting beer.”
“Well, I’m sure people would be attracted to it because of it’s energizing effect, and it actually may be a good idea. It just sounds odd for some reason,” said Academy of Art in San Francisco student, Yvannia Perez.
Aimed at “contemporary adults,” few college students have heard about the new beer and haven’t seen it sold at nearby beverage stores.
“Caffeinated Beer? I’ve never even heard of it,” said Spencer Hagan, a sophomore at University of California, Santa Barbara.
David Clark, a junior at Ohio State, works at a bar when he is at home in Whitehall, MI. He said that his bar, Racquets, sells a can of B-to-the-E for $3 each. He said that he remembers when Coors created a combination of Red Bull and Coors Light two years ago, called “Red Light,” and it was never really that popular because it cost $4.
“Basically, I would drink B-to-the-E if I was getting off work and wanted to have a chill night with a few friends, but I can’t spend $25 to get drunk,” Clark said.
He said that from a bartender’s perspective, right now the most popular alcoholic energy drinks are vodka and Redbull for women or Yaggermeister and Redbull for men.
“Budweiser is really smart to make an energy drink, considering the popularity of these type of drinks right now,” Clark said. Clark tried the new B-to-the-E last weekend to see what the buzz was about.
“I drank three and didn’t feel drunk, nor did I feel like I had more energy. I need to drink at least eight beers to get a good buzz, but when I drank those it was like drinking three Mountain Dews. I mean can you really sit down and drink a six pack of pop?” Clark said.
At Brickskeller Saloon in Washington, D.C., where about 1200 brews are on sale every day, BE began being sold about six weeks ago. Dave Alexander, the owner, won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for his collection and said that the new BE is selling fairly well, over a case a week at a price of $3.25 each beer.
“It doesn’t taste like coffee or beer to me, nor an energy drink, it’s in it’s own little niche,” Alexander said.
While Alexander said it is “too early to tell” whether or not BE is here to stay, he said he finds the new brew, “unusual and not something created by a brewmaster, but by a marketer.”
“I wonder about this type of marketing…to me I think it is kind of disingenuous and false. It almost seems like they are trying to find a way to make underage drinkers, drink alcohol, which bothers me,” Alexander said.
Nathaniel Davis, the brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch, Inc, finds things differently in his new beer.
“We created a great new drink that’s outside the boundaries of the taste adults would expect from a traditional beer.” “I think they should stray away from saying ‘caffeinated beer.’ It sounds unappealing,” Perez from the Academy of Art said.
Other students also think that the marketing scheme is a bit strange. “I guess they are aiming at college students…who want to drink and stay up to do work?” Clark said.