A-B InBev is straddling the fence in the current beer market. Anheuser-Busch has long been the dominant American brewer in the domestic market, but when it joined the InBev group, the Budweisers were suddenly in the same family with traditionally highbrow beers like Leffe, Stella Artois, and Boddingtons. Even though your average beer geek will start wailing and gnashing his teeth at the mere mention of Anheuser-Busch or any of its products, most of America still drinks domestic, lager-style beer.
In order to help its customers branch out a bit, A-B InBev put together a free iPhone app called iLoveBeer (iTunes Link). The app is supposed to promote zythology, the study and appreciation of beer, by helping consumers find new beers to try, offering meal pairings, and providing detailed descriptions of proper pouring procedure for several of the brands. While none of these features – with the exception of the pouring instructions – are particularly detailed, I think getting these ideas into the hands of American consumers can only help improve the national beer experience. Most beer drinkers still think their decision is simply between Bud or Bud Light and MGD or Miller Lite. iLoveBeer aims to put more options in front of the consumer and to remind people that beer can provide a sophisticated dining experience that would turn up the noses of the wine snobs in our lives. Also, who’s to say that the guy who tries a Michelob Porter won’t love the style and start to branch out and try a Fuller’s London Porter or a Bell’s Expedition Stout.
Though iLoveBeer is simple, I think A-B InBev is doing both a smart thing and a good thing for the consumer market with the app. It raises awareness of the wide selection of InBev beers and encourages beer drinkers to branch out. What so evil about that?