Anheuser-Busch Drops “Born On” Date

by David Lauterbach
2009 February 11

According to, Anheuser-Busch is changing the way they view a beer’s shelf life. In the past, If an A-B brand beer went 110 days without selling, A-B crews would sweep into bars and restaurants, hand the retailer a check for the value of the beer then break the bottles and pour the liquid out. No exceptions.

Now, the brewer says it has realized that the 110-day limit might not be necessary. Why? The company says it has improved its brewing processes and packaging — using new fillers and bottle crowns, for example — that reduce the amount of oxygen in its beers.

The company is allowing its new and niche beers to stay on the market longer — as long as 180 days in some instances. Big names like Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Select, Busch and Natural Light will keep the traditional “born on” date and the 110-day selling limit… because no one wants to drink a stale Natty.

Despite the reversal, Anheuser-Busch is confirming what many craft brewers have thought for some time — A-B was throwing out plenty of good beer that could have stayed on the market for weeks longer. I kinda remember thinking when “born on” was started by A-B that they were simply looking for an edge over smaller beers and imports since they probably had the facilities to get a beer from the cast to the consumer quickly.

This doesn’t mean that old beer is tasty, but I’ve stored bottled beer in a cool dry place for months with no gustatory problems (yep, I had to go to the Thesaurus for that one).

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Pardon us please, while we pay for beer...

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