Budweiser is doing its best to deal with the blows following Qatar’s eleventh hour alcohol ban in World Cup stadiums.
On Tuesday morning, the beer brand announced that the World Cup winning country would receive all beer not sold due to the ban.
How exactly this will work – obviously Budweiser can’t just give away free beer to random people in most countries – will be announced later, but it looks like there will be some sort of big celebration, according to a statement obtained by CNN:
The company confirmed its plans in a statement to CNN Business, writing that it “wants to bring this celebration from the stadiums of the World Cup to the fans of the winning country.”
“We will hold a celebration of the final championship for the winning country. Because for the winning fans, they’ve taken over the world. More details will be provided as we get closer to the finals,” Anheuser-Busch InBev spokesman said in a statement.
FIFA planned to sell alcoholic beer at the World Cup until Qatar refused
Budweiser previously planned to sell beer in designated areas around the perimeter of the World Cup arenas in Qatar. The scheme was a compromise between FIFA (whose main sponsor is Budweiser) and Qatar, where the sale of alcohol is banned outside of restaurants and bars in hotels with a special license.
This compromise collapsed two days before the start of the tournament. Football fans are still allowed to buy non-alcoholic beer in stadiums, but alcoholic beer is only available at the official FIFA Fan Fest and in those hotels where alcohol was already available.
The development dealt a major blow to FIFA, which had been selling beer at World Cups for decades. The organization takes beer sales so seriously that it once successfully lobbied for changes to Brazil’s alcohol laws to be able to sell beer in the country’s stadiums for the 2014 World Cup, but Qatar presented a completely different problem.
Budweiser and its parent company InBev, which reportedly paid $75 million for FIFA sponsorship, would also be unhappy. They first responded with a deleted flippant tweet before releasing a statement confirming the change.
Now all that beer lying unsold somewhere in a Qatari warehouse will find a new home as FIFA tries to make the most of what has been a terrible host country disaster.