World Cup 2022: Budweiser will ship all the beer banned from Qatar stadiums to winning country

Budweiser is doing its best to roll with the punches after Qatar's eleventh-hour ban of alcohol from World Cup stadiums.

The beer brand announced this week that whichever country wins the World Cup will receive all the beer going unsold due to the ban.

How that will exactly work — Budweiser obviously can't just hand out free beer to random people in most countries — will be announced out at a later date, but it sounds like some sort of large celebration will be held according to a statement received by CNN:

The company confirmed the plans in a statement to CNN Business, writing that it “wants to bring this celebration from the FIFA World Cup stadiums to the winning country’s fans.

“We will host the ultimate championship celebration for the winning country. Because, for the winning fans, they’ve taken the world. More details will be shared when we get closer to the finals,” an Anheuser-Busch InBev spokesperson said in a statement.

FIFA planned to sell alcoholic beer at World Cup, until Qatar balked

Budweiser had previously planned to sell the beer in specially designated areas around the perimeters of Qatar's World Cup arenas. The set-up had been a compromise between FIFA (of which Budweiser is a major sponsor) and Qatar, where the sale of alcohol is forbidden outside of restaurants and bars in specially licensed hotels.

That compromise fell apart two days before the tournament began. Soccer fans are still allowed to buy non-alcoholic beer at stadiums, but alcoholic beer is only available at FIFA's official fan festival and those hotels where alcohol was already available.

The development represented a massive blow to FIFA, which has sold beer at the World Cup for decades. The organization takes beer sales so seriously it once successfully lobbied for changes in Brazil's alcohol laws so it could sell beer inside the country's stadiums for the 2014 World Cup, but Qatar represented another challenge entirely.

Budweiser and its parent company InBev, which reportedly paid $75 million for the FIFA sponsorship, wouldn't have been happy either. They first responded with a since-deleted flippant tweet before releasing a statement acknowledging the change.

Budweiser deleted this tweet made after Qatar totally banned beer at the World Cup.
Budweiser deleted this tweet made after Qatar totally banned beer at the World Cup.

Now, all of that beer sitting unsold in a Qatari warehouse somewhere will find a new home, while FIFA tries to make the most of what has been an abject disaster of a host country selection.

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 19:  A Budweiser beer stand can be seen ahead ofthe celebration party ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Fan Festival at Al Bidda Park on November 19, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Even more is at stake at the 2022 World Cup, thanks to a massive reversal by Qatar on beer sales. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)