Ah, the weather. These days it seems to have more of an impact on the corporate bottom line than ever before. The ready-made excuse has become ubiquitous: too dry for umbrella sales, too wet for back-to-school shopping, too hot for one thing, too cool for another. Certainly there are many cases when weather can and does play a major role -- a relentless barrage of hurricanes in Florida comes to mind -- but all too often a shortfall in sales is conveniently written off to meteorological causes.

Yesterday, Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) trimmed its full-year outlook to $2.75 to $2.76 (excluding a first-quarter hedging gain), a penny below previous guidance, citing the impact of high gas prices and, yes, unusually cool and wet weather over the summer. The new figure still represents an 11% improvement over the $2.48 earned last year. I'll give the company the benefit of the doubt on this one, though personally I have never checked the thermometer before enjoying a frosty beverage during baseball season.

Anheuser-Busch also announced new products that are expected to hit shelves soon, such as Bacardi Green Apple, the newest addition to the Bacardi Silver line. Also, in select markets, expect to find Michelob inside 16-ounce aluminum bottles. As predicted recently by Dave Marino-Nachison, the new packaging concept follows a similar decision by Pittsburgh Brewing to team up with Alcoa (NYSE:AA).

Third-quarter shipments to retailers are tracking 1.2% below last year's pace, though year-to-date sales are still fractionally higher. More importantly, the pricing environment remains favorable, and Anheuser-Busch will be "initiating selective pricing actions," meaning two rounds of price increases are on tap for the next two quarters.

While the proposed merger between Molson and Adolph Coors (NYSE:RKY) is showing signs of dissolving, Anheuser-Busch's partnerships remain intact.

Strategic alliances with Tsingtao and Harbin, China's largest and fourth-largest brewers, give the firm a solid foothold in the fast-growing Chinese market, the world's largest as measured by volume. The firm also has a 50% stake in Mexico's king of beers, Grupo Modelo, producer of the ever-popular Corona brand.

With volumes in the domestic market slowly crawling around 1% annually, Anheuser-Busch is relying on the international front to help spur growth. Despite a modest slowdown during the summer, Anheuser-Busch's overall volume is on track, consumers are increasingly picking up trendier (and pricier) Michelob products, and yesterday's outlook suggests the company is closing in on a 24th consecutive quarter of double-digit earnings increases.

Bud? Import? Microbrew? What is your happy-hour favorite? Discuss it on the Beer Loving Fools board, only on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter owns none of the companies mentioned.