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Bud Light Platinum coming, says Anheuser-Busch as U.S. sales slip

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Bud Light Platinum, a long-germinating beer concept from Anheuser-Busch InBev that’s not quite Bud Light and not really Budweiser, will finally hit stores in January.

Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch, the world’s largest brewer, said Wednesday that the new beer “appeals to a key group of beer drinkers and expands consumer occasions.”

Platinum would have 6% alcohol by volume and 137 calories. Top-selling Bud Light, by comparison, has 4.2% ABV and 110 calories while Budweiser has 5% ABV and 145 calories.

Some beer enthusiasts suggest that Platinum is Anheuser-Busch’s attempt to take advantage of growing interest in craft beers, whose popularity has also sparked a recent boom in beer gardens and micro-breweries.

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As overall U.S. beer sales by volume slipped 1% last year, the craft beer industry grew by 11%, according to the Brewers Assn. trade group.

But in a post on BeerAdvocate.com, Todd Alstrom postulates that Platinum may turn out to be a “faux-spirit infused beer” such as Bud Light flavored with the taste of tequila.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has already approved a proposed blue and gray label that evokes the existing Bud Light label, according to Advertising Age magazine.

Anheuser-Busch isn’t the only beverage maker changing its product line.

Coca Cola Co. made a splash this fall when it said, in a company first, that it would temporarily turn 1.4 billion classic red cans white to raise awareness for deteriorating polar bear habitats. To tap into rising interest in eco-friendly products, Coke and PepsiCo revealed new bottles this year that the companies said were made from “plant-based” sources.

Anehuser-Busch also said Wednesday that its North American beer sales slipped 3.2% in the third quarter and that it had to increase its prices by an average of 3%.

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-- Tiffany Hsu


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