Are Bud Light’s Fruity ‘Ritas Cool Enough for the Heat? Consumers Mostly Think So

Since summer is officially here, we thought it would be a good idea to get our drink on. That is, we wanted to understand how consumers perceive Bud Light’s seasonal margarita- and fruit-flavored beers…while sampling a few ourselves on GutCheck’s awesome patio (OK, I made up that last part).

Using a quant/qual approach, we launched an Instant Research Community of 31 legal-aged respondents who had previously tried Bud Light’s original margarita-flavored Lime-a-rita, and polled an additional 251 beer, margarita, or flavored malt beverage drinkers through Google Consumer Surveys, in order to find out:

  • the initial appeal of Bud Light’s flavored beers and the ideal scenarios for enjoying them
  • how new flavors stack up next to traditional ones
  • what changes, if any, consumers would suggest

The Results

After just 24 hours with the community, our GutCheck researchers pulled together some interesting data. Check out the highlights in this infographic.

As we could guess, Bud Light’s flavored beers seem to be a natural accompaniment to warm-weather socializing. But the data also helps us predict that with targeted advertising and a few product refinements, the Bud Light ‘ritas have potential to earn even greater appeal among adult beverage drinkers. See what we mean in our key findings below.

What’s the Occasion?

Fun in the sun! Our respondents told us that the initial draw of Bud Light’s Lime-a-rita is the sweet, margarita-like flavor, which brings to mind outdoor social events such as beach or pool parties, backyard BBQs, or even just hanging out on a patio. In fact, many respondents tried Bud Light’s flavored beers for the first time after being offered one on such occasions.

It’s a no-brainer here: Bud Light has done a good job of hitting on the flavor profile that makes people think “summer,” so making sure to incorporate summertime activities into their advertising would appeal to consumers and their salivary glands.

And while respondents felt the Lime-a-rita is akin to a margarita or a wine cooler, they would still position it as a beer due to its lower alcohol content, convenience, and portability—a brand bonus.

Traditional Flavors Rule, but Mash-Ups Could Make Things Interesting

Lime-a-rita, Bud Light’s original margarita-like flavor, came out on top with our respondents in “flavor appeal” (32%), with another traditional hit, Straw-ber-rita, coming in second (29%). Mango-rita polled the best among new flavors due to its uniqueness, with Cran-ber-rita bringing up the rear out of all the flavors (just 7%).


Respondents had plenty of recommendations for additional fruit flavors, including pineapple, orange, peach, and watermelon. And some liked the idea of coming up with mixed flavors, such as pineapple-orange or anything combined with strawberry. Pine-orange-a-rita, anyone?

Sweetness, Packaging, and Other Refinements: Consumers Weigh In

However, despite the fun of dreaming up new flavors, the high level of sweetness, especially in Straw-ber-rita and Mango-rita, was concerning to some respondents. Reducing the sugar content could be an option for Bud Light if they want to bring a lighter product to market.

Here’s something interesting: all of our adult drinkers consistently felt that while the ‘ritas are essentially flavored malt beverages, the –rita in the name alone is an added value since it’s like drinking a margarita without having to buy the mix. This play on words, combined with flavor recognition, is working for Bud Light.

While the name and flavors may be working for Bud Light, the can…not as much. Respondents felt the packaging makes the product seem cheap and not differentiated enough from other Bud Light offerings. And the fact that it can only be purchased individually or in 12-packs is limiting for those who want something in between, like a 6-pack or a variety pack in order to sample multiple flavors.

So What Should Bud Light Do Next?

With further iterations of qualitative research, Bud Light can approach and update their package design, quantity offering and make sure their advertisements are hitting with the target consumers. GutCheck helps companies and brands like Bud Light optimize their concepts and advertising before going to market to ensure they have the best launch possible. Request a demo from GutCheck to learn how we can help you!

Download Inforgraphic