As craft beer continues to chip away at macro-brewery dominance, Anheuser-Busch is attempting to refresh Budweiser’s image with a new deep-amber lager called Black Crown. Slated to appear on shelves early next year, the new Bud is the winner from a Project 12 crowdsourcing trial run: three limited-edition beers were released in a sampler pack this fall, with recipes selected from brewers around the country. Black Crown is the one that got voted into full production.

The beer is “the brainchild of Los Angeles brewmaster Bryan Sullivan,” with help from Scott Ungermann in Fairfield and Dave Cohen in Houston.  At 6% ABV, it is “brewed with four different types of hops to achieve its vibrant clarity and deep amber hue.”

Tapping into the homebrewing community and touting a “small-batch” ethos is clearly part of A-B’s crusade to win back drinkers who have switched to craft beer. Craft brewers saw a tidy $1.1 billion increase in retail dollar value in 2011, while the entire beer industry experienced a decrease in beer sales.

[via HuffPost Food]