Budweiser Brews Up a Smell-O-VR Experience at SXSW

Smell, touch, and feel your way through a brewery tour in VR.

The world of marketing alcoholic beverages can be cutthroat, challenging marketers in the segment to be innovative. That’s why this year at SXSW, Budweiser decided to create a multi-sensory virtual reality experience to stand out from the crowd. Not only did the Anheuser-Busch InBev company give SXSW a real taste of their beer, but also let attendees transport themselves to the closest thing possible to a live walk-through tour of their original brewery.

Think Smell-O-Vision, but for beer.


Dubbed the Budweiser Beer Garage, the experience at Austin’s Ironwood Hall is split into 6 sections. Beer taps abound, the space has multiple projections, a restaurant and bar.  But, perhaps the best way to taste beer is after seeing how it’s made.

The “immersive 4D reality experience” takes the viewer on a 360° trip to the iconic St. Louis brewery with multi-sensory experiences.


As part of their activation, viewers don a Gear VR headset while physical enhancements are introduced simultaneously so people can smell, touch, hear, and feel sensations while immersed in the VR tour.

They can smell the hops as a staff member places a jar under their nose and feel a breeze created by the experiential activation while going through the tour. They can also feel the heat from from the brew kettles, and then sample the cold beer at the end as the pièce de résistance.

About the Scout

San Tong

San tells stories and manages digital and social networking communications. She has worked for advertising agencies including McCann, M80, and RPA on brands like Sony, Xbox, Honda and Acura, creating and cultivating lasting relationships with their social media community. She is the Associate Producer of the documentary Bordering on Treason about Lorna Tychostup, a single mother and News Editor for a magazine in New York who knowingly risks her life, imprisonment, and a million dollar fine by traveling to Iraq under the threat of war. San has a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from University of Illinois. She specializes in competitive analysis, emerging media, mobile extensions, and multi-platform integration.

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