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One fast food joint thinks it knows what young, hungry guys want

Budweiser Beer Cheese Bacon Burger from Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.
Source: Carl's Jr.
Budweiser Beer Cheese Bacon Burger from Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

To appeal to millennial diners, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. are taking their cues from the bar.

The restaurants are launching their latest collaboration with an alcohol brand as the Budweiser Beer Cheese Bacon Burger hits restaurants by Wednesday. The dish will be available nationwide for a limited time through early next year.

"We're always looking for things that the male half of the millennial generation is interested in, and one of the things they're consuming now is beer cheese," said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer for CKE Restaurants, the parent of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's.

Beer cheese has been gaining in popularity lately. Year over year, mentions of the item increased 9.6 percent, according to Technomic's MenuMonitor data.

For the collaboration, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's looked to the market leader in beer. Partnering with a fast food restaurant marks a first for Budweiser.

"Budweiser is the king of beers so they're kind of the first choice when you're looking for a beer partner in the country — if not the world," Haley said.

Josh Halpern, Vice President of Small Format and On-Premise for Anheuser-Busch, said the company is always looking for unique partnerships to highlight its ingredients and engage customers.

"We appreciate Carl's Jr and Hardee's dedication to cooking up innovative and boundary-pushing menu items, and we are excited for these new beer-infused pairings to make their debut," he added.

The dish consists of a grass-fed, all-natural beef patty with Applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and Swiss cheese, and topped with Budweiser beer cheese. The grass-fed, all-natural beef patty is in part another play for millennial diners who are "looking for cleaner food," Haley said.

This is not the first alcohol-branded partnership for Carl's and Hardee's, which previously linked up with Jim Beam, Redhook Brewery and Midnight Moonshine.

"They've been very successful," Haley said. "That's why we keep going back and trying different versions."

Update: This article has been updated with comment from Anheuser-Busch.