15 hottest products of 2008: Bud Light Lime

Earlier this year, Budweiser introduced Bud Light Lime, a citrus-flavored competitor for Miller Chill, the lime-flavored beer that Bud's major competitor launched in 2007. The new Bud Light joined Bud Light Clamato, a chelada-style beer that is currently sold in predominantly Latino neighborhoods. Accompanying the release of this new beverage, Bud launched a $35 million ad campaign, a strategy that paid off with a 2% rise in sales in the first three quarters of 2008.

Popular flavors tend to go in waves, and limes have been ascendant for a couple of years now, showing up wherever a crisp, summery flavor seemed appropriate. As they have wormed their way into corn chips and sodas, it was only a matter of time before they became part of the beer market. After all, the idea of mixing beer with citrus dates back to at least the first days of hefeweisens in Austria, and a slice of lime has long been the traditional accompaniment for a bottle of Corona. This makes sense; the clean, sharp flavor of lime juice cuts beautifully through the thick, yeasty tones of beer, yielding a combination that is both tasty and refreshing.

Given the ever-increasing popularity of flavored beer, it's hardly surprising that Budweiser has chosen to use lime in its new product. Unfortunately, however, the end product is somewhat underwhelming. The first problem is that Bud Light is a mild, watery beer, with very little flavor. Onto this dull pallette, the taste of artificial lime lands like a aggressively cloyingly top note, yielding a finished product that comes much closer to a mildly fermented version of 7-Up or Sprite than Corona or Dos Equis.

Still, there's no arguing with numbers, and the impressive sales of Bud Light Lime bode well for the massive brewer. Under the circumstances, it's probably only a matter of time before the release of Bud Light Raspberry, Bud Light Coconut, and Bud Blueberry!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He is dreading the inevitable arrival of Bud Banana.

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