Budweiser American Ale due out in October

It only took 11 years.

Back in 1997, Anheuser-Busch reportedly was considering creating a new brew called "Budweiser American Ale." Now, the country's largest beermaker has received label approval from the U.S. Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for a beverage using that name.

The product launch date is October 6. The ale is to have 5.1% alcohol by volume, about the same as standard Budweiser, according to label filings. A-B, ever attuned to market trends, apparently is jumping on the bandwagon of strong recent growth in the ale niche usually dominated by small craft brewers.

Curiously, the development was unveiled on Brewblog.com, a site run by rival Miller Brewing Co. That forced A-B to begin fielding questions about the new product before it planned to do so. In February, Miller began test marketing its three-label Miller Lite Brewers Collection of craft-style beers.

Marlene Coulis, A-B's vice president for consumer strategy and innovation, told Advertising Age the new ale will be a darker, richer brew than Budweiser lager.

Coulis said A-B's Michelob brand family, which has been spinning off new craft styles for more than a decade, was the real model for the new brew.

"Michelob was a perfect model for this," she said. "Obviously seeing the growth that's occurred in craft and micros, it's a perfect opportunity for us."

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