The makers of Bud Light say they're going to stop selling the controversial black and gold striped beer cans in Columbia.
A KRCG News investigation first prompted the university to speak out against the "team pride" fan cans. On Wednesday, KRCG obtained Anheuser-Busch's written response, which confirms the beer giant will scrap their "tailgate approved" promotion in Columbia.
Two weeks ago, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton sent a letter to AB. Deaton took issue with two things: First, that the team-colored beer cans targeted students, many of whom are underage.
Second, the university said recent store displays, which used MU's tiger logo, was done so without permission.
"This is completely unacceptable," the chancellor wrote in a letter to AB dated Aug. 28. It "conveys the impression to the consumer that the university of Missouri is somehow supportive of this marketing effort."
Anheuser-Busch's St. Louis office wrote back to Deaton in a letter dated Sept. 9. The letter, which the university received the next day, confirms the promotion will end "in the near future."
"Anheuser-Busch does not believe that it has infringed any rights or created any confusion with its responsible marketing of beer under the famous Bud Light trademark in cans bearing color combinations also used by the University of Misosuri," wrote Scott Miller, with AB.
"Nevertheless, in light of our long-standing friendship with Mizzou, and in order to avoid a dispute over the concerns raised by your letter, the Fan Cans program in such color combinations wil be ended in your community in the near future."
The letter reminds the university that Budweiser does have permission to use Mizzou's logo to market beer. But the letter says AB will keep Mizzou's logo away from fan cans already on store shelves.
At least 25 other communities have complained about the fan can promotion. It's not clear how many of them have seen the cans removed, or when they will stop being sold in Columbia.Anheuser-Busch's letter to MU
Dear Mr. Deaton,
This is in response to your August 28, 2009 letter to Anheuser-Busch.
Anheuser-Busch does not believe that it has infringed any rights or created any confusion with its responsible marketing of beer under the famous Bud Light trademark in cans bearing color combinations also used by the University of Missouri. Nevertheless, in light of our long-standing friendship with Mizzou, and in order to avoid a dispute over the concerns raised by your letter, the Fan Cans program in such color combinations will be ended in your community in the near future.
As you know, our company does have the right to create and utilize point-of-sale materials bearing the Mizzou logo and other school indicia under an agreement, but we will work to make sure that any such materials are kept separate from the Fan Cans as sales of the latter end soon. Anheuser-Busch values its relationships with the collegiate community and looks forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the University of Missouri in future endeavors.
As you know, Anheuser-Busch has a longstanding commitment to promoting responsible drinking, Our company's position on college drinking is clear: if students are 21 or older and choose to drink, we want them to do so responsibly; if they are under 21, we want them to respectthe law and not drink. Since 1982, Anheuser-Busch and our wholesalers across the country have invested more than three-quarters ot a billion dollars to help prevent alcohol abuse, including underage drinking and drunk driving,
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Very truly yours,
Scott D. Miller, Associate General Counsel