- AB InBev is continuing to launch more products in its first line of alcoholic beverages targeted explicitly at women. The latest launch is Ritas Spritz, a lower alcohol content beverage available in White Peach Rosé, Pear Orange Sangria and Strawberry Blueberry Sangria flavors, according to Beverage Industry.
- Ritas Spritz is available online and at retailers across the country in four packs of 12-ounce slim cans, 16-ounce single cans and a variety of flavors in a 12 pack of 12-ounce slim cans. The original concept for the female-targeted drinks was the original Bud Light Lime-A-Rita, launched in 2012.
- Chelsea Phillips, vice president of Beyond Beer Brands at AB InBev, said in a statement that the new drink responds to growing consumer demand for ready-to-drink beverages. "With spritz dominating as the consumer beverage of choice, and canned wines on the rise, we felt there was no better time to shake up the status quo with Ritas Spritz," Phillips said.
When it comes to beer, many marketing strategies have focused on barbecue, football and male friends guzzling golden pints while surrounded by scantily-clad women. However, this almost exclusive association of males and beer is not reflective of the actual demographics of those who are consuming the beverage — at least for AB InBev.
Nielsen data shows about 36% of American women say they drink beer, compared to 38% who drink spirits and another 56% that drink wine. But for AB InBev, women represent 65% of the brand's buyers. With more than half of their consumers identifying as female, AB InBev launched Bud Light Lime-A-Rita in 2012 and marketed the brand as "for women, by women" — highlighting the fact that the marketing team, brewers and agency partners were all female.
That strategy clearly proved successful. After relaunching the Lime-A-Rita brand in 2017 and scoring an NFL sponsorship where women make up nearly half the viewing audience, AB InBev reported 2017 fourth quarter earnings of $14.6 billion, an 8.2% increase in organic growth from the same period in 2016.
Now with the release of its Ritas Spritz, AB InBev is taking this line a step further and fully investing in creating a line of sweetened beer alternatives, a category that performs well among American women. This concerted effort to lure in female consumers is especially savvy as beer sales continue to struggle. After all, females represent 70 to 80% of all consumer purchases.
Still, appealing to female consumers in the right way is key. When PepsiCo announced last year they were developing "snacks for her," the association was reminiscent of candy-colored Bic pens "For Her." Similar to the online comments for the pretty pastel pens, women took to social media over the idea of female-only snacks to accuse the brand of sexism under the hashtag #LadyDoritos. Johnnie Walker also debuted a female logo to make scotch less "intimidating for women," which drew heavy criticism.
At the same time, other companies have seen significant success by creating products that are geared toward females. Michelob Ultra is another beer that markets to fitness-minded millennials, many of whom are female, and has reaped the rewards — even Senator Elizabeth Warren did an Instagram Live video for New Year’s where she sipped on one.
It seems like this trend is only going to continue, Constellation announced last year it would invest $100 million in female-led alcohol brands by 2028.
Still, brewers cannot forget about their male consumers. It is unlikely that fruit-flavored spritzers will appeal to men over more classic golden brews. Nevertheless, even for other brewers who don’t benefit from a majority of female consumers, with more than a third of women drinking beer, it is incumbent upon brewers to take notice and shift campaign strategies to cater to their female consumers, rather than passively benefit from their spending. Doing so may help their bottom lines amid the industry-wide slowdown.