Less than 48 hours before the start of this year’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar, FIFA shockingly announced that the eight stadiums hosting the World Cup will be alcohol-free.
This important decision leaves football fans with a “beer” option that’s not as boggy as some might have hoped: Bud Zero.
FIFA stated that Bud Zero, the non-alcoholic option, will be the only beer-like drink available in all World Cup stadiums in Qatar.
According to its website, “Budweiser Zero is a non-alcoholic brew (from Anheuser-Busch) with just 50 calories and zero grams of sugar, and is made for those who want to give up alcohol without sacrificing the full flavor and refreshment of Budweiser.”
Released in 2020, Bud Zero has a concise alchemy of four ingredients: barley, hops, rice, and water.
Although Bud Zero is an alcohol-free brew, it is intended solely for consumption by adults 21 and over.
While alcohol is not completely banned in Qatar, Qatar is a Muslim country – the first in the Arab world to host the event – that is very conservative. It strictly regulates the sale and consumption of alcohol in the countryside. There is only one alcohol distributor in the whole country, the Qatar Distribution Company. Providing overpriced beers, wines and spirits in certain establishments and high-end hotels.
This decision is a complete reversal from what Qatar initially took. In September, officials said while ticketed fans could buy alcoholic beer during the game, they would only be allowed to buy alcohol three hours before kick-off and just one hour after the final whistle.
Ab InBev, Budweiser’s parent company, reportedly bought the rights to exclusively outfit the World Cup for $75 million. It acknowledged in a statement that some of its plans “cannot go ahead due to circumstances beyond our control”.
On social media, Budweiser responded to the news with a quick and now-deleted tweet.
Fans were obviously shocked by the announcement and took to social media to express their disappointment.
The World Cup begins on November 20 with Group A when Qatar take on Ecuador.