A-B Optimistic

Sales volume up 2.3% in third quarter

Anheuser-Busch has high expectations even as the global economy seems to spiral out of control.

The brewer announced third quarter numbers a month in advance and said it expects pre-tax income in the third quarter to rise at a low-double-digit rate boosted by price increases, cost-cutting measures and increased sales of its new Bud Light Lime beer.

The company said quarterly beer sales by volume rose 2.3% in the U.S., helped by the launch of Bud Light Lime. Beer sales from wholesalers to retailers, a better indicator of consumer demand, rose 3.6%, the company said.

Anheuser implemented a price increase for 2009 in the second half of September, which raised prices on more than 85.0% of its domestic beer portfolio this year. The company expects revenue per barrel to rise 4.0% in the third quarter.

Anheuser is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on Nov. 6.