Click on the link below to see an image of the new "35-calorie" can

Click on the link below to see an image of the new "35-calorie" can

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Anheuser-Busch InBev has begun offering its Budweiser Select 55 lager in smaller cans and bottles, as it seeks to entice more calorie-conscious consumers into the ailing US beer market.

A-B InBev said late last week that it has launched Select 55 in 12-packs of eight-ounce, "35-calorie" cans, as well as six-packs of seven-ounce, "32-calorie" clear glass bottles. The move is part of the brewer's plan to broaden its base of consumers.

The US beer market is expected to show more low-single-digit decline for 2011. Waning interest in mainstream beer has been exacerbated by a tough economic climate, which has led to high unemployment rates among young males, A-B InBev and MillerCoors' key target market.

Select 55 was launched in February 2010 as a lower-calorie beer, in 12oz cans and bottles. While these will continue to be sold, the new offering, nicknamed 'Little Lights', "provide more options for adults who want to enjoy a great beer with few calories", according to the brand's senior director, Ryan Moore. All Select 55 beers are brewed at Anheuser-Busch's Los Angeles, St. Louis and Williamsburg breweries. 

Alongside Select 55, A-B InBev is expected to launch Bud Light Platinum, a 6% abv lager, across the US this week.

For analysis of A-B InBev's strategy in the US in 2012, click here.