Michelob Ultra has taken the beer world by storm, displaying one of the fastest rises to the top of any beer in history. With a taste that appealing, it is no surprise many are asking questions about the roots of the beer. One such question is when the beer came out and why. We have you covered below.

Michelob Ultra debuted in 2002 as a low-carb beer under beer manufacturer Anheuser-Busch InBev. The target audience for the drink was health-conscious drinkers, particularly those on the Atkins diet. Its target consumers have broadened since then, including fitness enthusiasts and athletes.

As helpful as the answer may be, it isn’t the full gist about Michelob Ultra. In this article, we will dive into more detail about when and why Michelob Ultra hit the market and the reasons for its enormous success. Also, we will consider the

Why Did Michelob Ultra Come Out?

Michelob Ultra was introduced to the North American market in 2002 under the Michelob brand of the giant beer company, Anheuser-Busch InBev. Interestingly, the company already had the clear top-selling light beer on the American market in Bud Light. So, why was Michelob Ultra manufactured at all?

Changing Consumer Preferences

The primary reason for the launch of Michelob Ultra was for Anheuser-Busch InBev to have a beer for an older lifestyle and consumers on the Atkins low carb diet.

To start with, the older lifestyle consumers. Light beers were already huge in 2002, with Bud Light, another one of the company’s products, being the best-selling of its kind in the United States. Aside from Bud Light, other light beers like Coors Light and Miller Lite were very common in the country.

However, these light beers were more common among younger audiences. This was likely due to the beers’ less bitter taste and more refreshing feel. Michelob Ultra wanted to make a beer for an older audience who still liked low-carb beers. Little wonder its main advertising line then was “Lose the carbs. Not the taste.” Essentially, a beer that wasn’t light in taste but in carbs.

The second reason is that there was an Atkins diet craze around that period. For those that do not know, this diet is a low-carb diet often recommended for weight loss. The idea is that you can burn fat instead of carbohydrates if you limit your carbohydrate intake.

Because of this, Michelob Ultra was created to be a perfect low-carb alternative to regular and even light beers for people on the low-carb diet.

Revive Michelob Light Brand Line

Odd as it may seem, Michelob Ultra is not the pioneer light beer of the Michelob beer brand; that title belongs to Michelob Light. Have you heard of it? Trust us; we wouldn’t be surprised if your answer is no.

Michelob Light was introduced in 1978, two-and-a-half decades before Michelob Ultra and even four years before Bud Light. But Michelob Light did not sniff the lofty expectations Anheuser-Busch InBev had. The product neer had any foothold in the industry, and the emergence of Bud light from the same manufacturers didn’t help either.

However, it was clear to Michelob that the light beer industry was still green, and lots of money could be generated with the right product. This led them back to the drawing board, coming up with Michelob Ultra.

While the plan was for Michelob Ultra to revive their light beer line, it wasn’t made to replace Michelob Light. Production of the latter continued, despite its sinking value and even after Michelob Ultra went on its meteoric rise.

Why Was Michelob Ultra So Successful After Its Launch?

Michelob Ultra has possibly the fastest ascension to the top of any beer in history; yes, even more than the revolutionary Bud Light. In Michelob ultra’s first full year, it sold 2.5 million barrels, placing it in the top three of the brewers Association-defined craft brewers in the United States. What’s more, it became the product with the fastest growth rate in Anheuser-Busch InBev’s history.

The beer surprised everyone, with many questioning the unimaginable success of what seemed like another bland beer. What exactly made this beer this successful? Let’s find out.


Of course! Anheuser-Busch InBev is the biggest beer manufacturer in the United States, and this comes with its benefits. Their up-and-coming products have massive funds to spend on marketing and advertisements to push sales, and Michelob ultra was no exception.

The company ran several ads that focused on getting the point that the beer is an excellent alternative to regular and even light beers for those looking to cut their carb intake. Furthermore, as the beer grew in stature, it began sponsoring events, pulling big stars, and even running Super Bowl commercials.

With the high emphasis on marketing and the beer quality, Michelob Ultra was always bound for success.

Excellent Understanding Of Target Consumers

Another reason for the colossal success of Michelob Ultra in its early years was the brand’s ability to understand its customers and adapt as required.

Michelob Ultra was initially supposed to be for an older population. But that wasn’t the case, as younger consumers were the main sales drivers. Two years after its launch, Michelob re-strategize its ad campaigns and started including younger consumers in commercials.

Additionally, the first primary advertising tagline was “Lose the carbs. Not the taste.” which was great in passing across the core reason for the existence of the beer to health-conscious individuals. However, this soon changed to “It’s only worth it if you enjoy it,” targeting people who wanted to live healthily but not sacrifice all of their fun.

The understanding of consumers coupled with the brand’s flexibility in making adjustments contributed to the brand’s huge success.

Where Was Michelob Ultra First Brewed?

Michelob Ultra was first brewed in the United States by Anheuser-Busch InBev in Saint Louis, Missouri. The brewing company has twelve breweries across several states in the United States, including New Jersey, Los Angeles, Houston, Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia, California, New York, Colorado, and Georgia.

The product was initially launched in test markets in the United States, particularly in Colorado, Arizona, and Florida. Cities with a high population of older people were selected to test the product before its official, nationwide launch.

How Much Was Michelob Ultra When It First Came Out?

Michelob Ultra came into the industry as an averagely priced beer, mimicking the price of other light beers. Today, the beer is about a dollar or two costlier than its peers.

Dollar sales have always been a strong point for Michelob Ultra, coming in second only to Bud Light in 2020, shipping 11.6 million barrels and holding a 5.5% market share. The beer also recorded 14 straight quarters of growth in 2018, seeing them move from eighth to fourth in the industry.