Anheuser-Busch has rolled out a wheat- and gluten-free beer in the US.

The brewer said yesterday (20 December) that Redbridge, the first nationally-available sorghum beer, will be available in US stores which carry organic products and restaurants. Sorghum is a safe grain for those allergic to wheat or gluten, A-B highlighted.

"We set out to create a fine, hand-crafted speciality beer made without wheat or barley," said Angie Minges, product manager at A-B. "We've made Redbridge nationally available to make sure adults who experience wheat allergies or who choose a gluten-free or wheat-free diet can enjoy the kind of beer that fits their lifestyle."

Redbridge contains 4.8% alcohol per 12-ounce serving, and will be available in 12-ounce, six-pack bottles.

Separately, A-B said yesterday that it has introduced "a new, more aggressive leverage target to enhance shareholder value". The brewer plans to increase leverage and reduce its cash flow to total debt target from the previous range of 30%-40% to 25%-30%

A-B has linked a 100m share repurchase programme to this target, representing around 13% of outstanding common stock. The company said it expects to repurchase about US$2.5bn of shares during 2007.