Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bud faces tough taste test in World Cup Germany

By Louis Charbonneau

BERLIN (Reuters) - Budweiser may be the "King of Beers" in the United States, but it's often laughed at in Germany, where it will be one of only two beers available in football stadiums during the World Cup.

An official sponsor of the month-long soccer tournament that kicks off on June 9, Budweiser parent Anheuser-Busch originally won the rights to a monopoly on beer sales at the 64 World Cup matches to be held in 12 German cities.

But the decision outraged Germany's fiercely proud beer drinkers, many of whom dislike the taste of weaker U.S. beers. The German television station n-tv summed up the country's reaction on its Web site: "A cry went out across the nation."

The St. Louis, Missouri-based firm took note of the furor and relented. It agreed to give 30 percent of beer sales rights to the family-run German brewery Bitburger to sell its popular Bitburger Pils, better known as "Bit."

"We obviously read the stories and are aware of the media ... the German fan, the German consumer, has great pride in the local beers," Anheuser-Busch Vice-President Tony Ponturo told Reuters in a telephone interview.........

Read the rest of the story here.

Here's a link to a German student's anti-Bud protest site.

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