Six Pack: Beer Buzz of the Week

Six items in the world of beer, wine and spirits that have consumers buzzing heading into the weekend:

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1. World’s Biggest Brewer Gets Bigger:Anheuser-Busch InBev, already the world’s largest brewer, has completed its much-discussed acquisition of Grupo Modelo, Mexico’s largest brewer, at a cost $20.1 billion. The deal gives Anheuser-Busch InBev control of the Corona Extra brand, the best-selling imported beer in the U.S. The unsung brand in the acquisition may be Modelo Especial, one of the fastest growing imports in the U.S.Consumers may also look for Bud to divest lesser profile brands like Busch here in the U.S. in order to help gain regulatory approval for the deal.

2. Deciding the 2012 Presidential Election, Craft-Beer Style: California-based Half Moon Brewing Company has found a way to let its customers predict who will win the 2012 Presidential election. From now through the November election, the brewing company will let customers choose to drink a blue-labeled Obama Ale or red-labeled Romney Ale. The brewery held similar a event in 2008, when Obama Ale outsold McCain Ale by a four-to-one margin.Half Moon Brewing is making 22-ounce bottles of the “Alection” beers available for $4.50 each or in “SuperPACKs,” which include four Alection beers for $18.

3. It’s Miller Time — for Anyone Named Miller: Miller Brewing is celebrating it snamesake, offering anyone with the first, middle or last name of Miller the chance to celebrate Miller Time. The brewer is holding nine “It’s Miller Time On Us” events across the country where consumers can show their ID displaying their Miller connection and receive a $25 Miller Time gift card.

4. Yellow Tail Wine Pushes Into Beer: The company credited with helping to start the “Critter Wine” boom and shaking up the wine industry with its Australian export Yellow Tail, is getting into the beer business. Casella Wines is launching a premium lager called Arvo to compete with Australian-brewing giants Lion and Fosters. The company isn’t thinking small, not with a specially built brewery capable of producing 35,000 bottles of beer an hour, but there are no current plans to introduce the beer in the U.S.

5. AC/DC Wine Heading to U.S.: After a successful launch last year in Australia, the wine label named after one of the most famous bands in the world is bringing its business to the United States. AC/DC The Winehas sold more than 50,000 cases, including 6,000 in the first week alone, according to Warburn Estate, which produces the wine. AC/DC wines are currently produced in four varietals: Back in Black Shiraz, Highway to Hell Cabernet Sauvignon, Thunderstruck Chardonnay and Hells Bells Sauvignon Blanc. All wines retail for $17.99

6. The World’s Most Expensive Wine?: Australian winemaker Penfolds is launching a limited edition wine, which it is billing as the “most expensive wine directly sold from a winery in the world.” The wine will be released completely encased in glass — no cork; no screwcap. Only 12 limited-edition ampoules are being produced, with each expected to retail for $168,000.

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