Young men who spend the work day gulping caffeinated drinks and the night in bars will now have a new product aimed at easing the transition.
Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. on Monday launched "Tilt," a raspberry-flavored malt beverage blending caffeine, guarana and ginseng — and with an alcohol content ranging from 4 percent to 6.6 percent, depending on state laws.
It's the latest in the St. Louis-based beermaker's bid to branch out into the so-called "malternative" market. In January, the company launched B-to-the-E, another drink with roughly the same ingredients. Anheuser-Busch has also in recent years introduced its Bacardi line of flavored malt beverages.
Anheuser-Busch has 48.8 percent of the U.S. beer market and makes the top-selling beer and light beer, Budweiser and Bud Light. But earnings have gone stale — the company's second-quarter earnings announced last month fell nearly 10 percent from a year ago — as rivals have cut into market share and more young people are turning to other types of alcohol.
Tilt and B-to-the-E should complement each other but are "different types of products," said Mic Zavarella, director of innovations for Anheuser-Busch. B-to-the-E is aimed at both men and women, while Tilt's target audience is men 21 to 27.
Also, B-to-the-E is meant as a drink to consume at bars or events. Tilt is an "after-work drink," a 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. "transition" from work to play, the company said. The 16-ounce (450-gram), single-serve drink is aimed at giving a boost before the night on the town.
"From happy hour to a night out at a club, contemporary adults are looking for innovative beverages that fit into their fast-paced, highly social lifestyles," said Pat McGauley, vice president of innovation and new products for Anheuser-Busch. "Tilt was developed with this in mind because it is suited to a variety of drinking occasions."
Analyst Tom Leritz of Argent Capital in suburban St. Louis said many young people now mix alcohol with Red Bull and other highly-caffeinated energy drinks.
"You can drink one of these Tilts and get an energy boost," Leritz said. "This product, along with some of the other products they've announced, is a response to tough competition from spirits, wine, alternative drinks and competition from within the brewing industry.
"I think they completely recognize these are threats. These are new products they've put out there to compete in a changing environment," Leritz said.