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    Anheuser-Busch Gears Up for Summer

    May sales up, seasonal brew introduced.

    ST. LOUIS -- After a less than stellar April, Anheuser-Busch Inc. (A-B) saw beer sales to retailers rebounded in May, reported Reuters. Sales from wholesalers to retailers for the entire company, including its core beer brands such as Budweiser and Bud Light, rose at a mid-single digit percentage rate.

    For this quarter to date, sales to retailers increased 1 percent, according to the company. It stated that it is still targeting long-term earnings per share growth to fall between 7 and 1 percent, but added that 2007 earnings should exceed that.

    In other A-B news, the company prepared for hurricane season by prestaging 12,850 cases of canned drinking water around the Gulf of Mexico, as June 1 marked the official opening of the Atlantic hurricane season. The company's actions enables relief agencies to deliver water immediately should a hurricane strike the areas.

    "No matter when and where disaster strikes, Anheuser-Busch and its wholesalers are always among the first on the scene, helping our neighbors get back on their feet," Peter Kraemer, vice president of operations for A-B, said in a written statement. "It's important for communities to pull together and lend a helping hand in times of need and we're proud to provide packaged water to those affected by natural disasters."

    Shipments were delivered to the following local A-B wholesalers: Daytona Beverages, Daytona Beach, Fla.; Wayne Densch Inc., Sanford, Fla.; and North Florida Sales, Jacksonville, Fla. In addition, 4,300 cases were shipped to the company's Jacksonville, Fla., brewery and 2,150 cases were shipped to the Houston brewery. If a hurricane hits the Gulf Coast, the water will be shipped to an area in need and distributed by the American Red Cross and other relief agencies, according to the company.

    In other A-B news, the company launched a summer marketing campaign around the phrase "It's Flippin' Cold," with an integrated, multimedia initiative by St. Louis-based Cannonball, reported Brandweek.

    One element of the campaign will be the company's Chill chamber, from which aluminum bottles of Bud Light will be served. The Chill Chamber is a refrigerator that can cool beer to as low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit without freezing. At that temperature, a 16-ounce bottle stays colder an average of 17 minutes longer than a bottle pulled from conventional coolers, according to the report.

    "This is a different way to communicate a cold message in a unique touch point," said Ned Flanagan, senior vice president of marketing at The Marketing Store, Chicago. "They're not just doing it through advertising."

    "Flippin' Cold" takes a stance against Coors Brewing, a company that has embraced a cold positioning for its Coors brands since 2004, in the off-premise retail landscape through packaging innovations, according to the report.

    The campaign will hit stores with point-of-purchase materials that boast: "Bud Light. Always cold, always refreshing, always worth it," the report stated.

    In more A-B news, the company launched its summer seasonal Beach Bum Blonde Ale in bottles for the first time.

    The brew is an all-malt, traditional American blonde ale, which draws its deep golden color from a variety of pale and caramel roasted barley malt. Alsace and Hallertau hops combine with Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest for the dry-hopped beer, giving it a distinct and pronounced hop aroma.

    "We're once again very excited to bring adults such a refreshing, easy-to-drink brew for adults to enjoy this summer," Florian Kuplent, brewmaster at A-B, said in a written statement. "Whether you're enjoying Beach Bum Blonde Ale on draught at your favorite restaurant or by the bottle at home in the backyard, the pleasant hop aroma and slightly spicy and malty taste make this beer the perfect match for the hot summer months."

    The beer was available in draught last summer, and was awarded a bronze medal in the blonde ale category at the 2006 North American Beer Awards. This year, the beer will be available nationwide this summer on draught until September, and in 12-ounce bottles at grocery and convenience stores.

    Beach Bum Blonde Ale is one of four seasonal brews by A-B. Others include Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale, Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale and Spring Heat Spiced Wheat.

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