Michelob moves into a new role

Anheuser-Busch is doing more with Michelob than simply brewing it.

The St. Louis brewing giant has created a separate entity -- Michelob Brewing Co. -- to combine creative activity with marketing in an effort to improve sales of the brand, including its original Michelob, Michelob Porter and AmberBock plus some yet-to-be-created beers.

Michelob, created in 1896 as a "draught beer for connoisseurs," is "a beer that's been around forever, but it's always sort of taken a back seat," said Doug Muhleman, vice president of brewing operations and technology at A-B's domestic beer unit, in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Michelob's sales to retailers fell by "low single digit" percentages last year, despite Michelob Ultra's growth. Nevertheless, Muhleman said, A-B feels the Michelob nameplate is a solid platform for a "mega-branding" strategy — selling a variety of new beers under the Michelob umbrella.

One such brand about to be rolled out to the market is Michelob Dunkel Weisse, a "dark wheat" Bavarian-style beer, and Michelob Pale Ale will be expanded from a seasonal to a year-round offering.

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