Qatar’s last-minute decision to ban alcohol in World Cup stadiums has left Budweiser with plenty of beer on its hands. The company has an innovative solution to relieve it.
Budweiser will ship the unsold bud to the country that wins the tournament that the company said in a tweet. The company confirmed the plans in a statement to CNN Business, writing that it “wants to bring this celebration out of the FIFA World Cup stadiums and to the fans of the winning country.”
“We will host the ultimate championship celebration for the Siegerland. Because for the victorious fans, they conquered the world. More details will be announced as we get closer to the finals,” a spokesman for Anheuser-Busch InBev said in a statement.
Last week – just days before the start of the World Cup – Qatar announced that the eight stadiums would not be able to sell alcoholic Budweiser, leaving fans with only one beer option: non-alcoholic Bud Zero.
Qatar is a Muslim country that is considered very conservative and strictly regulates the sale and consumption of alcohol. In September, officials said ticketed fans could buy alcoholic beer three hours before kick-off and an hour after the final whistle, but not during the game.
“Following discussions between the authorities of the host country and FIFA, it was decided to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages to the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues and the outlets for beer from around the stadium of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar removed,” said FIFA, football’s governing body, last week.
Budweiser tweeted, “Well that’s awkward,” though the social media post was quickly deleted.
“As a partner of FIFA for over three decades, we look forward to our activation of FIFA World Cup campaigns around the world to celebrate football with our consumers,” an AB-InBev spokesman said in a previous statement. “Some of the planned stadium activations cannot go ahead due to circumstances beyond our control.”
AB InBev paid $75 million for FIFA sponsorship, according to multiple reports. So the decision has upended the company’s World Cup marketing plans as the decision drastically reduces its presence to thousands of fans at the World Cup. Arguably the larger part – the TV commercials starring football kings Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. – is unaffected, however.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will take place until December 18th.