- Anheuser-Busch InBev is launching Mexican import brand Estrella Jalisco in 10 states this month, which will be the brand's official U.S. debut.
- The company aims to "reunite" Mexican consumers in the U.S., a fast-growing population, with a brand that is "a symbol of pride" in their home country, Jorge Inda Meza, AB InBev's West Region marketing director, said in a statement.
- AB InBev is also launching an "integrated marketing campaign" along with the product's debut, according to the company's statement.
Light beer sales have taken a hit in the U.S., which has contributed to AB InBev's recent struggles in the region. Craft beer has received much of the attention, but import brands, particularly Mexican varieties, have also made a strong standing. Mexican import brands in multi-outlet and convenience stores saw a 15.8% sales bump over the past 52 weeks, according to IRI data.
Competitors Constellation and Heineken already dominate the Mexican imports category with popular brands like Corona, Modelo, and Dos Equis. Heineken recently reaffirmed its commitment to growing Dos Equis in the U.S. with a modernized "Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign with a new actor coming this fall. With sales and marketing already firmly established among its competitors, AB InBev has catching up to do.
AB InBev does already have the Montejo and Oculto lager brands in the U.S. Montejo sales increased 6.9% year-to-date through February 21, according to IRI, so sales in this segment don't mirror the lag of its light beer brands.
The company has also made investments in marketing for Oculto, having last year released limited edition bottles with labels that glow via smart label technology and LED lights. AB InBev is taking a different marketing approach with Estrella Jalisco by focusing on cultural traditions of the target market. That focus on experiences with products is becoming more common across the food and beverage industry.