Budweiser’s Clydesdales: A Time-Honored Icon at a Crossroads

In a surprising move, Budweiser, the renowned beer brand, has decided to sideline its iconic Clydesdales from the spotlight in its traditional holiday advertising. The majestic horses, synonymous with Budweiser for over 80 years, will not feature in the brand’s usual seasonal campaigns. However, the company clarified that the Clydesdales will still have a presence in promotions advocating responsible drinking and are set to return for the highly anticipated Super Bowl ads.

“The Clydesdales play a strong role for the brand, representing Budweiser quality and care for more than 80 years. As icons of the brand – and relevant symbols of integrity, perfection, and team spirit for all generations – they are important to the brand and our campaigns,” stated Anheuser-Busch on Monday.

This decision coincides with Budweiser’s diminishing share of the U.S. beer market, which has steadily declined since its peak in 1988. According to Beer Marketer’s Insights, Budweiser held 7.6 percent of the market last year, a significant drop from 14.4 percent a decade ago. The shift is attributed to the increasing popularity of light and craft beers, drawing in a demographic of young drinkers who have yet to embrace the Budweiser brand.

Eric Shepard, executive editor of the industry tracker, noted the challenge Budweiser faces, stating, “You look around, and we have this huge group of young drinkers, almost half of them have never tried the brand.” The market landscape has seen light beers, including Bud Light, steadily erode Budweiser’s share for years. Bud Light surpassed it as the top-selling beer in 2001, while Coors Light claimed the second spot in 2011.