After more than a decade of wild growth, Michelob Ultra is now well-established as Anheuser-Busch InBev’s king of “better-for-you” beer. As odd as it may sound to beer enthusiasts, the brand has become paradigmatic in its popularity and sales figures. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before other breweries wanted to play catch-up.
The Ultraficaton race is now very much on, with entries in the low-calorie, low-carb space multiplying quickly from breweries big and small. Among these is a new release from Boston Beer’s Marathon Brewing Company: a similar, sort-of-subsidiary effort not unlike its Alchemy & Science (now A&S Brewing) incubator, which acquires and promotes smaller breweries.
Marathon’s first nationwide release was ushered to store shelves by brewer Shelley Smith, who joins this Sightlines podcast to talk 26.2 Brew: a beer that had previously only been available around the Boston Marathon. The brand will now see ramped-up production and will, from March, be marketed to beer drinkers who also prioritize their active lifestyles.
At 4% ABV, 9 grams of carbohydrates, and 120 calories (stats that all appear in the product’s marketing materials), 26.2 Brew is just the latest product aimed at a growing number of shoppers who want to pair their wellness with their beer. Now, let’s get an idea of what all of this means for one of the largest beer companies in the U.S.
This is Shelley Smith, brewer and manager of research and product innovation with Boston Beer. Listen in.