Lighter than Lite?

A-B to test market low carb beer, Michelob Ultra

Dec 7, 2001 - Anheuser-Busch will begin testing a new low-carbohydrate beer next week. Michelob Ultra, with 2.9 grams of carbs compared to 3.2 in a can of Miller Lite, will be tested in Tucson, Ariz.; Denver; and Fort Myers, Fla.


"That is a hoot," said nutritionist Stephanie Smith when she heard of the beer. "But beer is not that high in carbohydrate anyway. It's mostly alcohol and water." In fact, beer contains no fat.

Newspaper and billboard advertisements will promote the launch. "We pride ourselves on watching consumer trends," said Anheuser-Busch senior brand manager Anne Suppinger. She said extensive research shows a surprising number of beer drinkers watch their carbs.

Both Michelob Ultra and Miller Lite contain 96 calories in a 12-ounce serving. Smith, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Dietetic Association, said adults consume between 250 and 300 grams of carbohydrates a day, making Ultra's 0.3 gram edge over Miller minuscule.

Also, even though Ultra could attract Miller Lite drinkers it could just as easily appeal to the Bud Light crowd. Bud Light is the top-selling beer, light or otherwise, in the United States. That doesn't deter the A-B marketers. "During the holidays you're kind of balancing out all your carbs," Suppinger said. "Then after the holidays all your New Years' resolutions kick in."

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