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Anheuser-Busch to Bottle Some Beers in Aluminum

ST. LOUIS -- Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. plans to roll out an aluminum bottle on some of its high-end beers this fall, a new trend among brewers.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that A-B would begin testing the new containers this fall in bars, clubs and convenience stores for its Michelob, Michelob Light and Anheuser World Select beers.

In 1999, Diageo PLC's Smirnoff Ice experimented with an aluminum bottle, but the product was shunned by many men as a "female drink." More recently, Heineken NV, branching out from its distinctive green glass bottle, began selling aluminum cans shaped like beer kegs nationally.

Pittsburgh Brewing Co. is the first brewer to roll out the aluminum bottles, announcing Tuesday its plans to package its Iron City beer in the bottles this month. "We believe it's going to be a package of the future," said Joseph Piccirilli, vice chairman of the brewer, which invested $300,000 to convert bottling equipment to handle the new aluminum container.

Piccirilli said aluminum bottles offer advantages over glass bottles. The bottles have three times the aluminum of a typical beer can, they are unbreakable, and Piccirilli said beer would stay cool up to 50 minutes in the bottles. The aluminum bottle is expected to cost the brewer about twice as much as a glass bottle, or about 30 cents.
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