ST. LOUIS -- After a summer-long taste test, Budweiser has chosen its top three beers from its Project 12. The winning recipes, named for the ZIP code in which the beer was originally brewed, are from the Budweiser breweries in Los Angeles, St. Louis and Williamsburg, Va.
The beer company kicked off Project 12 in early spring when it asked its 12 Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser brewmasters at its geographically dispersed breweries to create their own "tribute" beers. After internal discussion and debate, six of the recipes were chosen to be brewed in small batches. After a nationwide sampling effort involving thousands of consumers at dozens of events, U.S. beer drinkers have provided feedback, which helped Budweiser decide which three beers would be available for sale in a limited-edition sampler pack this fall.
At sampling events across the country, consumers were asked to describe the taste, freshness, style and flavor of the six Project 12 beers, and to choose their favorites. The sampling events included the Budweiser Made in America music festival in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend -- where approximately 10,000 consumers sampled the Project 12 beers, according to the company.
"We've never done anything like this before," said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser. "With all this feedback from consumers, I guess you can call this the largest focus group in Budweiser history, maybe even beer history. There really were no winners or losers with Project 12, but we wound up with three great beers that slightly edged out the others. It certainly wasn't an easy choice. Best of all, we listened to what our beer drinkers told us and we let them help us make the decision about what to bring to stores."
The limited edition sampler pack, available for sale starting on Oct. 29, is a 12-bottle package containing four each of the special ZIP code beers. The beers are: Budweiser Batch No. 91406 (Los Angeles), a deep-amber lager with 6-percent alcohol by volume (ABV); Budweiser Batch No. 63118 (St. Louis), a deep-golden pilsner with 6-percent ABV; and Budweiser Batch No. 23185 (Williamsburg, Va.),a bourbon cask lager with 5.5-percent ABV.
Budweiser will continue to request feedback from beer drinkers on these three beers. Via a quick response code on the package, as well as an in-pack flighting sheet, the brand is asking consumers their opinions of these three new Budweiser-inspired beers. The flighting sheet also includes tasting notes and details about each beer for in-home tastings.
While not available in the fall sampler pack, the Project 12 beers developed in Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; and Fort Collins, Colo. also received favorable feedback from consumers, creating a task for the team responsible for paring the six Project 12 beers to three, the company said.
"Budweiser is an exacting style of beer to brew," said Peter Kraemer, a fifth-generation brewmaster who leads Anheuser-Busch's brewing operations in North America. "Our brewmasters are responsible for one of the world's most technically challenging beers and are able to make a high-quality beer that is consistent all over the United States and the world. Project 12 was a way for our world-class brewmasters to have fun experimenting with new ingredients, flavors and brewing processes to bring beer lovers some new options inspired by our flagship beer."