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Pouring Through a Crisis: How Budweiser Salvaged Its World Cup

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Consuming less alcohol is a superb thing, obviously. How are visitors to the World Cup having fun with Budweiser Zero?

Lee O’Hare, 27, of Ireland, said he supported the notion of alcohol-free beer basically, just not for himself. “I got one on the opening ceremony for the love of the sport,” he said, “however it just tasted like a watered-down version of a beer.”

David Allen, 51, who was visiting from Australia, said that he, too, tried a Bud Zero — mostly since it was there. “I couldn’t drink multiple,” he said.

His friend Ben Weeks, 48, said that, sadly, alcohol-free beer was not his idea of a superb time on a hot day.

“I find water more refreshing,” he said, “and it gives me the identical alcohol content.”

Meanwhile, dark theories abounded as to why the Qataris had waited so long to drag the plug on beer in stadiums. Fort, the sports marketing expert, said he thought Qatar’s decision was a results of inattention, not premeditation. But many fans were convinced the beer’s removal had been the thought all along.

“I believe the Qatari government planned all the time not to permit beer sales within the stadium, but they didn’t wish to say anything because they were afraid people wouldn’t come,” said Marty Brazeau, a 36-year-old teacher from the Seattle area, who had come to the W Hotel seeking something to drink. “I’m unsure I’d have come.”

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