- Coleman Natural announced that it would partner with Budweiser Beer to cook up five new pre-prepared pork products that are ready to be heated up directly on the grill, according to a press release.
- The new items include two options smothered in Budweiser Brew Master’s Premium Barbecue Sauce: St. Louis Style Pork Spareribs in full and half racks and Pulled Pork. There are also Jalapeno Cheddar Brats and Beer Brats, both made with Budweiser American Lager.
- The products are made with all-natural pork that doesn't contain antibiotics or added hormones. Mel Coleman Jr., founding family rancher, said in the release the pork will attract a younger audience and "bring generations of consumers from the beer aisle to the prepared meat case."
As Big Beer continues on its search to improve sales and withstand mounting competition from craft brewers, more partnerships and innovations are cropping up in the space. Total U.S. beer volume has declined for five consecutive years, so brewers are trying to revive sales with new collaborations like this latest pork product.
In the past year alone, Budweiser has struck up partnerships with Beam Suntory to make a Jim Beam bourbon aged beer and Burger King to create the American Brewhouse KING Sandwich, which was sold with crowns modified for drinking a can of beer. Other companies have tried various partnerships to bring in consumers, too. Captain Lawrence launched a Cookie Puss beer with Carvel, and several breweries have integrated popular cereals into their brews.
Looking at the last year, it is clear that Budweiser is searching far beyond the world of American lagers. This newest partnership with Coleman, however, seems to bring the brand back into conventional territory by playing up the trope of beer and barbecue — a combination that remains a backyard favorite. Budweiser is smart to tap into this age-old tradition through this partnership because those who enjoy eating their lager-infused meat products are significantly more likely to reach for a real can of Budweiser to wash things down.
Coleman Natural, in particular, seems to be a wise choice for a partner. With a storied history almost as long as that of Budweiser, the pork producer has still effectively aligned itself with the latest market trends. The pork brand was a pioneer in organic and no-antibiotics-ever meats and has become the first national retail brand to fully implement the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new crate-free standards. Additionally, Coleman Natural has earned American Humane Certification, which encourages greater transparency in pork production. Budweiser has a lot to gain by associating itself with this brand — especially a reputation for transparent and conscientious production, which consumers find increasingly important.
While these Budweiser-infused barbecue products are not likely to go the way of Colgate's beef lasagna, today's consumers are generally more interested in small-batch, crafted products. At the same time, there is a strong push for convenience, so having pre-cooked products that are easily heated will be an advantage for demographics that are always in a hurry like college students or young parents looking to consume something easy, quick, healthy and familiar.
Budweiser is not a trailblazer in this category. Jack Daniels and Jim Beam have developed liquor-infused barbecue. Budweiser sold its own self-branded sauce in 2016, which is being used in the Coleman pulled pork. But this full-blown partnership is the next step. If these two brands can sell the idea of beer-basted meat on a larger scale, there is a good chance that Budweiser will continue its efforts to partner with products in other sectors until they boost their bottom line, creating lucrative products for something already in the public consciousness as a staple American brand.