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Anheuser-Busch To Raise Beer Prices

August 27, 1998

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Beer drinkers may soon be paying a little more for their favorite brew, at least if that beer is made by Anheuser-Busch Inc.

The world’s largest brewery is considering raising the price of some beers by just under 2 percent, Anheuser-Busch spokesman Bill Etling said Thursday. It would be the St. Louis-based company’s first beer-price increase in two years.

Anheuser-Busch said it wouldn’t be an across-the-board, nationwide increase. Each market will be assessed separately. The company did not say which beers would be affected.

Anheuser-Busch makes the nation’s top selling beer _ Budweiser, the best-selling light beer _ Bud Light, along with Michelob and a host of other beers.

``I think it’s the right time to do this,″ said Smith Barney analyst Jennifer Solomon. ``You respond to what you see in certain markets.″

Beer sales have been strong this summer for Anheuser-Busch. The company sold a record 9.1 million barrels in July, which it called the best sales month in the history of the brewing industry. Anheuser-Busch president Patrick T. Stokes said domestic sales for the year, through July, are up 3.5 percent compared to 1997.

The company credits strong marketing, particularly its TV ad campaign featuring Louie the Lizard, along with efforts to publicize the freshness of the beer.

Analysts said they expect. No. 2 beer-maker Miller Brewing Co. and No. 3 Coors Brewing Co. to also increase prices in the fourth quarter. Miller and Coors officials did not immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press.

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