Budweiser Zero is an attack on American values

Is there a single living American who wants this?

Bud Zero.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock, Budweiser)

Nearly five years into this parenting thing, I can confidently say that there are very real downsides to literary acquisition — no longer being able to spell out tentative activities or treats like "P-A-R-K or I-C-E C-R-E-A-M," for example. There are also certain benefits, however, as I learned recently when our oldest asked to examine a bottle I had just opened:

"Why does it say 'King of Beers'? Is it because you're the King of Beers, Papa?"

"You've got it. They put that on there just for me, because I'm King of Beers."

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"Does that mean Mama is Queen of Beers?"

"That's why she married me."

I mention the newfound azure in my veins not out of snobbery but to make it clear that I speak with royal authority when I declare that Budweiser Zero, Anheuser-Busch's recently launched beer alternative, should be outlawed. In addition to no alcohol, the water-based substance is advertised as having zero sugar and only 50 calories.

According to a CNN report, the target audience for Bud Zero is "health-conscious drinkers that [sic] crave the taste of beer and don't want to deal with a hangover" and "beer fans who are looking to be responsible in social settings."

"You don't always want to walk away being hungover or with a buzz," adds Dwyane Wade, the new product's celebrity endorser. "I loved the idea of being part of the conversation without having to drink alcohol."

This leaves me with several questions. The first one is whether these people actually exist. Is there a single living American who really relishes the moist rice-y taste of our premier macrobrew but just isn't down with the whole "If you have maybe 15 of these you could get drunk" thing? One would think that this is the whole point.

Ditto the nonsense about "being part of the conversation." Where are these conversations taking place, and with whom? In bespoke yoga studios or corporate sensitivity training seminars? If you are so worried about your weight — sorry, I mean your "health" — and so terrified of the remote prospect that you could be hungover tomorrow after having so much as a single beer, just save yourself the money and enjoy a glass — or gallon — of water among yourselves. I'm told that, in addition to having no calories and not bringing the prospect of intoxication, it is free in many of the parts of the country. The fact that athletes of all people are pushing this nonsense should make us weep for the days when Ken Stabler and Terry Bradshaw would show up proudly hungover on Sunday afternoons.

Forget impeachment or the dorks who want to cancel baseball again. The health and safety freaks who want to replace such formerly pleasant activities as "having a beer" with things their doctors say are totally risk-free are doing their best to erase the last vestiges of fun from our declining civilization. Whatever happened to doing something precisely because it wasn't totally "safe"? Ten years from now I fully expect that the most shocking acts a person can commit in America will be enjoying normal unobstructed marital relations with your spouse and enjoying a six-pack with your neighbor. The teetotaling hall monitors are undermining the moral foundations of our country and letting the terrorists win.

As far as I can tell, the only hope here is our nation's youth. If I had the time, I would stand outside the party store down the street from our house and try to discover what illicit beverage purchases are being made on behalf of local teenagers. My guess is that very few of them on hot summer evenings are cajoling or bribing their older siblings into buying them the cans with the name of a beer on them that are not, in fact, beer.

Non-alcoholic Budweiser makes about as much sense as hot ice. I hereby banish it by royal decree.

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Matthew Walther

Matthew Walther is a national correspondent at The Week. His work has also appeared in First Things, The Spectator of London, The Catholic Herald, National Review, and other publications. He is currently writing a biography of the Rev. Montague Summers. He is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellow.