Anheuser-Busch tries out new, upscale beer

Thursday, May 29, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- Anheuser-Busch, the world's largest brewer, is testing out a new, high-end beer.

It's called Anheuser World Select, and the company is trying it out in 10 domestic and international regions.

The company said it didn't create the beverage to replace Budweiser or Bud Light. Instead, the brewer is looking for more sales in the growing market for high-end beverages, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday.

The Pilsener-style brew will be priced higher than Michelob but comparable to European imports, said Pat McGauley, the brewer's director of high-end brands.

August A. Busch IV, the head of domestic brewing for the St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch Cos., asked 10 brewmasters around the world to develop a classic Pilsener-style beer.

The advertising campaign will use a slogan highlighting that international effort: "10 Brewmasters. Four Continents. One Beer."

Staff brewmaster Nathaniel Davis oversaw the global collaboration. He asked the brewmasters to describe their thoughts on classic beer. With their input, Davis started examining brewing recipes. He sent the resulting beer to the other brewmasters for tasting and critiques.

The group focused on Anheuser Marzen as the starting recipe, he said. The company rolled out Anheuser Marzen, a stronger, maltier beer than some other brews, in the late 1980s but discontinued it after a few years.

The brewmasters spent a lot of time modifying the Select recipe, such as enhancing the taste of hops, he said.

The Select beer reflects the company's ability to penetrate the growing market for high-end products, Mark Swartzberg, beverage analyst at Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc.

The company's rum-flavored Bacardi Silver and the low-carbohydrate Michelob Ultra are two of the company's beverages already aimed at that market.

When the brewer decides to roll out Select nationally will depend on the results of the test-marketing.

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