InBev, the Belgian company that owns Anheuser-Busch and, therefore, Budweiser, announced that it  posted $1.5 billion dollars in profit even though beer sales were flat.

Beer sales have been flat for years now, as the market has reached a saturation point when it comes to potential beer drinkers. There are simply more today then anytime in recent memory.

So what have the beer brands been doing? Playing defense.

This is particularly true of Budweiser. It has taken the expected market leader position by selling brand benefits that are minimum table stakes used as an excuse for preference. “Drinkability” is about as valuable as “free checking”  in banking.

It could be worse. Bud could start selling “Cold.” Oh. Wait a minute.  Coors owns that.th

Bud needs to play a smarter game if it wants to grow share. Pretty soon, it will dawn on the legions of American long-neck  “Bud” drinkers that the brew is no longer the quintessential American heritage brew anymore since A-B InBev bought them.

Soon it will dawn on stockholders that InBev must take a hard look at the Bud brand promise if they expect its stock to be part of a growth portfolio. In the meantime, maybe Budweiser will wake up, realize the game has changed and call us for help before the shareholders demand it.