The new bottles are manufactured by Exal USA in Ohio. Rick Leininger, the director of Michelob Brands, said that the new bottles give consumers in bars and clubs a"cool packaging to complement their image and style."
Aluminium bottles have been used to sell beer in Japan since 2000. Their 'trendy' look and their ability to be re-sealed and chilled quickly, give them an edge over the original can.
Advantages over glass bottles include the ease of recycling, lower cost of raw materials and removal of the dangers associated with broken glass on a dance-floor. An estimated 2 billion aluminium bottles were sold in Japan in 2003.
Anheuser-Busch is not the first American beer company to use an aluminium bottle. Pittsburgh Brewing Company introduced aluminium beer bottles made by CCL Container this August for its Iron City Premium Lager brand, while Heineken released a limited-edition aluminium bottle called H2 to select markets in 2003. And, in 2003, the Big Sky Brewing Company released two of its brews in a 12.5 oz crown-capped aluminium bottle imported from Spain.
CCL Container had previously produced a re-closable aluminium bottle in 2002 for Snapple's Mistic Re energy drink.
Last year, the Ball Corporation entered an agreement with Daiwa Can Company and Mitsui for the distribution of the Japanese companies' Bottle Can beverage container North America. It has been used by Kraft Foods in its line of Capri Sun Island Refreshers.
Coca-Cola successfully adopted the Daiwa bottle can in Japan. The package is known as the Cone Top Pop. Sales of the soft drink rose by 240 million in the first year (2000) after the package was put on the market.
Anheuser-Busch's decision to use Exal USA's product follows that of another Coca-Cola brand, Powerade, which launched a 12-ounce aluminium 'bullet bottle' for two products, Psych and Raize, in 2003. Psych is designed to boost mental performance while Raize is made to increase physical performance.
Aluminium specialists Exal USA make a range of containers for toiletry and cosmetic lines as well as food and beverage products.