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Budweiser seeks to play up its patriotism with U.S.-focused packaging

| Saturday, May 14, 2016, 9:00 p.m.
Budweiser, owned by Belgium's AB Inbev, wants to rename its beer 'America' during the summer and alter its labels with images and phrases affiliated with the country. The campaign, called 'America is in Your Hands,' will run from May 23 through November and include on cans and bottles passages ranging from the Pledge of Allegiance to lyrics from 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'
Budweiser, owned by Belgium's AB Inbev, wants to rename its beer 'America' during the summer and alter its labels with images and phrases affiliated with the country. The campaign, called 'America is in Your Hands,' will run from May 23 through November and include on cans and bottles passages ranging from the Pledge of Allegiance to lyrics from 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'

American currency has long held claim to being the only thing found in bars that boasts the phrase “E Pluribus Unum.” This summer, Budweiser wants to change that by rebranding itself as “America” and peppering its packaging with that very phrase, alongside others such as “Liberty and Justice for All” and “Indivisible Since 1776.”

That's right. The company wants to replace “Budweiser,” the name of the beer, with the word “America.” According to AdAge, Anheuser-Busch InBev has filed the label for approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

In addition to the aforementioned phrases, the word-heavy label would include “Land of the Free,” “Home of the Brave” and “From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me.”

There's more. It's topped with a diamond containing “U.S.” and a smaller “United States of America,” and that is topped with the lyrics from the first four bars of the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev U.S. Marketing VP Jorn Socquet declined to comment on the planned Budweiser packaging but did tell AdAge that the Fourth of July and the Olympics will play a role in brand's summer advertising.

“You have this wave of patriotism that is going to go up and down throughout the summertime,” Socquet said, “and we found with Budweiser such a beautiful angle to play on that sentiment.”

It's hard to imagine a more patriotic label, particularly for a brand that's not technically American. In 2008, Anheuser-Busch was purchased by InBev, a beer conglomerate based in Belgium and Brazil. Still, Budweiser's advertising team works tirelessly to maintain the beer's image as an American institution.

It's not the only beer that uses American patriotism in its advertising.

People on the Internet were outraged when it was revealed that Pabst would be sold to the Russian company Oasis — a sale that never happened. The outcry prompted Pabst to tweet an image of a Pabst can saluting and the message “Pabst will remain American owned and operated.”

Beer's origins are certainly important to some drinkers, a lesson Anheuser-Busch InBev learned the hard way. American beer drinkers who thought the company's Beck's Beer was made in Germany received $20 million in a class action suit against Anheuser-Busch InBev, according to the Associated Press. The beer's packaging stated that it originated in Bremen, Germany. That's true, but the label did not mention that it's now brewed in St. Louis.

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