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Suddenly, it’s all the rage.

Following the 2012 release of Guinness Black Lager, AB InBev is not to be outdone in the “fake craft” beer department. They’re reportedly planning the release of an entire lineup of dark and black beer in 2013, including Budweiser Black Crown (which will reportedly be amber colored), Rolling Rock Black Rock, Michelob Black Bock, Beck’s Black Jewel, Beck’s Sapphire (also reportedly amber), and even Busch Black Light…oh, my.

Apparently, they feel adding a little coloring to their tasteless adjunct lager will be just the ticket for pushing aside some of those pesky craft brewers who keep stealing their U.S. market share. I’m sure part of the appeal to these “new” brands is cross-production as they’ll all be made in the same facilites (making the same beer in different labels?), but is “black” suddenly cool? Or is this another idea to take up as much shelf space as possible in retail locations and bars & restaurants? There’s a lot more “new” product coming, apparently, as they have plans to market to various telephone area codes and airport codes too.

Any guesses as to how long these last? Anyone remember Bud Dry? Bud Ice? Silver or Extra? Brewmaster’s Private Reserve? Michelob Amber Bock, Hefeweizen or Pale Ale? Budweiser American Ale or Select? Bud Light Lime or Golden Wheat? Red Wolf? There were many more, of course, but all attempts to imitate or compete with a rival product and gather shelf space at the retail level.

While I respect the big guys as being good at what they do – they make great commercials and consistent pale light lager is incredibly difficult to produce – it irks me when they try to misinform the public, equating any of these products with a “real” lager or schwarzbier. Things like “Beechwood Aging” and “True Pilsner” have been going on for some time and it looks like it won’t be any better any time soon. Hopefully, people continue to realize that this stuff is just marketing fluff and not real…and move quickly from these “tweener beers” to all malt craft beers from their local breweries.

And the beer wars continue.

EDIT (16.1.13): As predicted, Black Crown rolls out on Super Bowl Sunday.

UPDATE: (6.7.13): Anecdotally, Black Crown seems to already be fading from the market, following the footsteps of Budweiser’s American Ale, Bud Dry and other attempts at market share grabs. Have you seen it recently?