A price war in the US beer market is being widely predicted as executives at leading brewer, Anheuser-Busch, promised investors that it would do "whatever is necessary" to grow its market share and increase profits.

However, A-B said it wasn't a question of undercutting competitors but simply reducing its premium to competitors' prices.

Nevertheless, analysts are expecting a summer of extremely tough competition. "If everyone was playing nice in the sandbox, this would be OK," Marc Greenberg, a Deutsche Bank analyst, told Down Jones News Service. "But we sense a much more competitive attitude among domestic brewers." Greenberg added that A-B's main competitors, SABMiller Miller and Molson Coors Brewing, "seem unlikely to let A-B off without a worthy fight."

A host of other investment analysts have forecast a price war but Norman Adami, chief executive of Miller, has repeatedly cautioned against a discounting battle, saying that any progress made would simply be a question of "renting share." But Adami still expects the coming summer to be "one of the most competitive," and said Miller would match competitors' moves on pricing.