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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Miller to test market low-cal craft beers under Lite brand

Miller to test market low-cal craft beers under Lite brand

Miller Brewing Co. announced Friday that it plans to test market the Miller Lite Brewers Collection, a trio of craft style beers that are lower in calories and carbohydrates than other craft beers, beginning in February 2008.

Milwaukee-based Miller will test the products in four markets: Minneapolis; Charlotte, N.C.; San Diego, Calif.; and Baltimore.

The Miller Lite Brewers Collection will feature Blonde Ale, Amber and Wheat, each with significantly fewer calories and carbs than a typical beer for that style, according to Miller.

"Miller is seeking to again establish a whole new category for the beer industry - craft-style-light," said Miller chief marketing officer Randy Ransom. "The brewer who can provide a more refreshing and drinkable craft style can stake out a whole new niche in the market. That's what we intend to do."

Miller Lite Brewers Collection is targeted to mainstream drinkers and capitalizes on three trends that are driving much of the growth in the U.S. beer industry, including the shift toward light beer, a desire for more variety and "premiumization," according to Miller.

Sales of craft beers are growing at a faster pace than sales of all other categories of alcoholic beverages, the Brewers Association reported earlier this year. In 2006, craft beer sales increased 17.8 percent.

Miller Lite Brewers Collection Wheat will feature a subtle citrus character. The Amber is made with roasted malts and has a mild hop character. Blonde Ale will offer a "crispness and slight maltiness balanced by a recognizable hop aroma."

Miller Lite Brewers Collection will initially be available in six-pack bottles and priced between mainstream light beer and the typical craft beer.

With the new product introduction, Miller is continuing with a strategy of shifting more of its business to higher-end products by "delivering innovative products to market like Miller Chill, Leinenkugel's and Sparks," Ransom said.

Miller introduced the Miller Lite Brewers Collection at a distributors convention in Chicago Thursday night.

Link to article


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