The Skinny on AB

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The Skinny on AB

ST. LOUIS -- McDonald's is cutting back fat in its oil. Now, Anheuser-Busch Cos. is cutting back carbs in its newest beer.

Looking to further entice health-conscious consumers, the nation's largest brewer is soon to launch Michelob Ultra, a premium beer that is company's first low-carb brew, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"Watching your carbs has become the symbol of a balanced diet," said Dave Peacock, vice president of high-end brands for the St. Louis-based brewer. "We're following consumer trends and reacting to consumer demand." Peacock said that while Ultra is not a diet beer, it does only contain 95 calories, making it one of the lowest-calorie beers on store shelves, the report said. For some perspective, a 12-ounce bottle of Ultra has 2.6 grams of carbohydrates, compared with 6.6 grams for Bud Light.

Not surprisingly, Anheuser's chief rivals are taking notice. A spokesman for Miller Brewing Co., a unit
of London-based SABMiller PLC, told the newspaper it introduced a low-carb beer decades ago with Miller Lite, which packs a modest 96 calories and 3.2 grams of carbohydrates per 12-ounce serving. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Adolph Coors Co.'s Coors Brewing unit says the company has no plans to introduce a low-carb beer.

Ultra, marketed in a brown-tinted longneck bottle with a blue-and-white label with silver trim, was launched in December in test markets in Denver, Tuscon and Fort Myers, Fla., with wider distribution in May. It is set to go into national distribution later this month, priced about $7 for a six-pack. By comparison, a six-pack of Bud costs about $5 or $6.