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Budweiser brewer getting tough to boost sales

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A desperate attempt to turn sales around has the top beer company in the United States making a few changes.

It's not just Budweiser that Anheuser-Busch is brewing these days.

U.S. shipments of the company's products have fallen for three straight years. To fight smaller, independent brewers, the company will introduce 19 products this year. Among them are six-percent alcohol by volume Bud Light Platinum and Bud Light Limearita.

"Honestly, the market's changed so much during the last few years that it's probably a good idea to adapt and grow with what people want," said Chris Osborn of the Cadillac Ranch Club in Tempe.

Osborn is already selling one of the new beers.

"We brought in the Bud Light Platinum," said Osborn. "It seems to be doing OK. For being brand new and just being launched, it's actually moving pretty well."

Anheuser-Busch is also doing something else different.

The Wall Street Journal said the company is playing hardball with 500 of its distributors -- it's leaning on them not to sell the competitor's products. The Journal said the company is warning that it will act against companies that don't agree to distribute fewer rival beers.

Osborn doesn't think that will happen here.

"There's competition rules and stuff like that that apply in states like Arizona," said Osborn.

Golden Eagle Distributing of Tucson, an Anheuser-Busch distributor, refused an interview request.

Hensley Distributing of Phoenix and the Beer and Wine Distributors of Arizona did not return multiple calls and e-mails requesting a comment.

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