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ST. LOUIS -- To kick off the upcoming fall season, Anheuser-Busch (A-B) has bottled its seasonal draught, Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale, for the first time.
The brew -- a copper ale with pumpkin, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and clove flavors -- debuted last year as a draught. A-B has decided to expand the brew due to its popularity last season. "Given what a passionate following Jack's had last year among beer lovers, we're excited about brewing it for them again," Florian Kuplent, brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch Inc., told BeerAdvocate.com.
Pumpkin-flavored beer might seem odd, but the success is in the balance, according to Kuplent. "Beer's versatility allows us to experiment with a variety of ingredients, making fall the perfect time to brew with pumpkins. … When hand-crafting an ale like Jack's, striking just the right balance between the distinct tastes of pumpkin and seasonal spices is key to bringing adults an enjoyable beer."
The ale is brewed with two-row, caramel and carapils barley malts and imported Hallertau and domestic Saaz hops. Seasonal spices are added to the mix, along with Golden Delicious pumpkins from the Stahlbush Farm in Oregon.
"We already knew Jack's was a hit with beer enthusiasts when it was out on-draught, so making it available in bottles this year was an easy decision," Bruce Eames, innovation manager for Anheuser-Busch Inc., told BeerAdvocate.com "Now, Jack's can be enjoyed on tap with friends at the neighborhood bar or at home in bottles during get-togethers like Halloween parties and Thanksgiving dinners."
Jack's is available through early December in 12-ounce bottles packaged in 6- or 18-packs. It joins A-B's other seasonal offerings, including Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale, Spring Heat Spiced Wheat and Beach Bum Blonde Ale.
In other A-B news, the company has announced that it will launch an online entertainment network called "Bud.TV," which will go live on the day after the Super Bowl, Brandweek reported.
The biggest day in football will also play a part in the seven-channel online network. The company's well-known commercials will feature the new network, according to Brandweek reports. Programming will include TV shows, comedy, sports, short films, news and original programming.
A-B's chief ad agency, DDB of Chicago, will play content traffic cop for Bud.TV in addition to its creative role with programming. Rodgers/Townsend of St. Louis is handling Web site design and desktop application, and Nine Systems of San Diego will provide the technology and distribution platform for the network.
"There's probably a lot of potential here down the road on the back end," Tony Ponturo, A-B's vice president of global media and sports marketing, told Brandweek. "If a program we create has legs beyond the Web, where does that take you? There is the possibility of attracting third-party advertising. But our mission at first is to have Bud.TV be a marketing tool with content that will help us in selling beer."
Instead of a cash generator, Bud.TV will seek 21- to 27-year-old consumers looking for entertainment. Two years ago, A-B saw the potential for a Web network when more than 700,000 people visited its site to view a certain commercial inspired by a wardrobe-malfunction incident that was rejected by the National Football League for Super Bowl programming. In addition, A-B counted 22 million people watching Super Bowl commercial previews on its Budbowl.com site last year, according to Brandweek.
"The time is right to get involved beyond branded Web sites," said Jim Schumacker, former vice president of creative development, who will lead the Bud.TV team.
Schumacker added that past Bud and Bud Light characters -- the Whassup guys, "I love you man" and office daredevil Ted Ferguson -- could step out of their 30-second time limits and into shorts or sitcoms for the network.
One channel, BudTube, will allow adult consumers to submit their own beer commercials. Other shows are "Replaced by a Chimp," which will replace an occupation's employee with a monkey that will do the job for a day as a camera records the calamity.
"We're always looking for new opportunities to connect with adult consumers on a more personal level," August Busch IV, A-B president, said in a statement. "With adults spending more time online looking for entertainment to fit their lifestyles, we believe Bud.TV will enable us to reach them in an engaging and fun way."