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 beverage "appeals to a key group of beer drinkers and expands consumer occasions" to drink beer.
Platinum will have 6% alcohol by volume and 137 calories. Top-selling Bud Light, by comparison, has 4.2% alcohol and 110 calories, while Budweiser has 5% alcohol and 145 calories.
Some beer enthusiasts online Wednesday suggested 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 American-style beer gardens.
Overall U.S. beer sales by volume slipped 1% last year, but the craft beer industry grew 11%, according to the Brewers Assn. trade group.
On blogs, self-identified beer geeks almost immediately began guessing what Platinum would taste like. On BeerAdvocate.com, Todd Alstrom of Cambridge, Mass., postulated that the new drink might be a "faux-spirit infused beer," such as Bud Light with a tequila flavor.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has already approved a proposed blue and gray label that evokes the existing Bud Light label.
Anheuser-Busch also said Wednesday that its North American beer sales slipped 3.2% in the third quarter and that it had increased its prices an average of 3%.