Budweiser Pledges to Send Unsold World Cup Beer to Winning Country

The World Cup sponsor was left with thousands of beers after a last-minute change banned them from selling alcohol at Qatar's stadiums.

<p>Miguel Medina / AFP via Getty Images</p>

Miguel Medina / AFP via Getty Images

The winners of this year's Qatar World Cup will need to clear a seat on their flight home for the World Cup trophy, an iconic gold and malachite sculpture that weighs over 13 pounds. The winning country also needs to ready both their bank accounts and their refrigerators for the other prizes that will be heading their way.

International soccer's governing body FIFA has confirmed that the champions will get a jaw-dropping $42 million in prize money, which is $4M more than defending champs France collected in 2018. And on top of that, Budweiser has pledged to send all of the beer that it couldn't sell in Qatar to the winning country, too.

On Saturday, the official @Budweiser account tweeted a photo of a warehouse filled with beer writing, "New Day, New Tweet [...] Who will get them?" Just a day earlier, the company — which paid a reported $75M for the right to become the tournament's official beer sponsor — learned that it would not be permitted to sell any alcoholic beverages inside or outside the eight stadiums where matches would be held.

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"Where there is a celebration, there is always a Budweiser," an AB InBev spokesperson told Marketwatch. "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."

The start of the tournament was just 48 hours away when Budweiser learned that Qatari officials had changed their minds, and would no longer be allowing them to sell any alcoholic brews to ticket-holders outside the stadiums. The decision was reportedly "a shock" to FIFA — and, of course, to Budweiser. "Well, this is awkward," the @Budweiser account tweeted (and deleted) on Friday morning.

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"Following discussions between host country authorities and FIFA, a decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing sales points of beer from [...] stadium perimeters," FIFA said in a statement. "The tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev's understanding and continuous support to our joint commitment to cater for everyone during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022."

But on-site soccer fans' losses are apparently going to be some other country's gain — assuming that their beer drinkers are into cans of Budweiser.