Budweiser Responded To The Qatar World Cup Beer Ban On Twitter

Several days into the 22nd FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the apparent winner of the tournament is Budweiser, who had taken the high road after being dealt a fiscal blow when sales of alcoholic beverages were banned from all eight stadiums in the Middle Eastern nation (via New York Times). The announcement to ban alcohol sales came on November 18, just 48 hours before Qatar and Ecuador took to the pitch at Al Bayt Stadium.

The statement from FIFA president Gianni Infantino explained that authorities from Qatar and FIFA agreed to sell alcohol in fan-focused settings, but not within the stadiums themselves. In response to the news, Budweiser, the official beer of FIFA World Cup Soccer, tweeted, "Well, this is awkward ..." from its official account before deleting it.

According to the New York Times, the conservative Muslim nation of Qatar strictly controls the sale of alcohol. It's typically very expensive and is therefore likely to be enjoyed only by officials and wealthy guests, despite large crowds of fans loudly chanting for access to beer (via The Athletic). The need for a decent brew is enough to have supported Budweiser's "takeover" of the W Hotel in Doha, where alcohol is allowed for fans, as per the Wall Street Journal. Yet the brand has remained silent (minus the cheeky tweet) until now.

Who will get the beers?

Even though it's been a FIFA sponsor since 1986, Budweiser's $75 million sponsorship was in question after Budweiser was banned from the Qatari stadiums. Although FIFA officials initially tried to appease Budweiser and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Infantino downplayed the decision by Qatari officials, saying that fans can survive a few hours without beer. He then speculated that there must be a good reason why alcohol is banned in other stadiums in places like France and Scotland (per Entrepreneur).

In a lighthearted and "Ted Lasso"-inspired tweet from November 19, Budweiser alluded to its previously deleted tweet with a photo of the pallets of unused Budweiser cans, writing: "New Day, New Tweet. Winning Country gets the Buds. Who will get them?" In a statement to CNN Business, an Anheuser-Busch InBev spokesperson explained that the company simply wanted to bring the FIFA joy to the winning country and would share more details as the World Cup finals approached.

Just which country will get the beer haul naturally remains to be seen. An early upset of Lionel Messi's Argentinian team (via FIFA) makes it even less clear as to who will run away with both the 18-karat gold trophy and the Budweiser. The 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament runs until December 18.