updated 12/20/2006 2:44:35 PM ET 2006-12-20T19:44:35

People with wheat allergies who have stayed away from beer now have a new option.

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Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. on Wednesday introduced Redbridge, which the company called the first nationally available sorghum beer. Starting Wednesday, Redbridge is available in restaurants and stores carrying organic products.

Sorghum is the primary ingredient in the beer from the makers of the nation’s top-selling full-calorie and light beers, Budweiser and Bud Light. Sorghum is a safe grain for those with wheat allergies. Anheuser-Busch is also marketing the beer as an alternative for those who choose wheat-free or gluten-free diets.

Brewmaster Kristin Zantop said that in addition to sorghum, the beer is made with imported hallertau and domestic cascade hops.

Anheuser-Busch said it worked closely with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness in developing Redbridge. Celiac disease is a disorder that can cause damage to the intestines when anything is consumed containing gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and oats.

An estimated 3 million Americans have been diagnosed with celiac disease, prompting an increased demand for gluten-free products.

At least three smaller brewers make gluten-free beer in the U.S. Lakefront Brewery Inc. of Milwaukee, Wis., makes New Grist out of sorghum and rice. Ramapo Valley Brewing in Hillburn, N.Y., makes Passover Honey Beer by adding hops to honey and molasses. Bard’s Tale Beer Co. in Kansas City makes Dragon’s Gold.

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