Budweiser gives Clydesdales holiday pink slip in push to court younger consumers

IndustriesAssociated Press

Budweiser is putting its Clydesdale out to pasture for the holidays.

The country's No. 3 beer brand says the horses will not appear in its holiday advertising this year. A spokesman for owner Anheuser-Busch InBev was unable to say Monday if the Clydesdales would be featured in ads during the Super Bowl.

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The decision not to feature the Clydesdales in holiday ads was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The change comes ads comes as Budweiser's share of the U.S. beer market has declined since hitting its peak in 1988. According to Beer Marketer's Insights, Budweiser had 7.6 percent of the market last year, down from 14.4 percent a decade ago. The erosion has been the result of the growing popularity of light and craft beers, said Eric Shepard, executive editor of the industry tracker.

"You look around, and we have this huge group of young drinkers, almost half of them have never tried the brand," Shepard said.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, Budweiser has been running ads for its "Holiday Crates" that includes 18-pack of Budweiser bottles. The company says the crates are replicas of those that were used to deliver the beer to retailers after Prohibition. The ads feature younger people dedicating beers to their loved ones.

The Clydesdales have been associated with Budweiser since 1933, when the company introduced them to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition for beer.