Cheap beer gets boost from bum economy
MILWAUKEE Miller Brewing Co.’s chief executive, Tom Long, said Thursday that the company has seen an increase in the sales of less expensive beers, such as Milwaukee’s Best, since January. Long attributed this trend to conditions in the U.S. economy and added that while consumers are spending less on beer, they still seem to want plenty of choices.
“We’re trying to make sure across the portfolio, we’ve got something people are going to want to drink … Whether they’ve got a pocket full or they’re feeling a little bit pinched, that we have the right beer for them,” Long said.
Long reported that his company’s two largest brands, Miller Lite and Miller High Life, each rose 1.1 percent in sales. Sales of Miller Lite account for about 46 percent of the company’s business and High Life accounts sales make up about 14 percent. A newly launched “Take Back The High Life” campaign has helped to turn around a three-year decline for the brand, the company said.
At the close of the last fiscal year, ended March 31, Miller reported its revenue went up 4.8 percent to $5.1 billion. Earnings climbed 27 percent to $477 million for the whole year—however, $33 million came from a settlement.
In October 2007, the New York Times reported that Miller and Molson Coors Brewing Co. had announced plans for a merger. The creation of MillerCoors, combining the second and third place U.S. Brewers’ business, would help the companies stay competitive against No. 1 U.S. brewer, Anheuser-Busch, the companies said. Final approval is needed from the government, but the merger should be on track by this summer, Long said.
Anheuser-Busch relinquishes Grolsch importing to Miller
MILWAUKEE, Wis. Anheuser-Busch announced that it no longer will exclusively hold the rights to import Grolsch beers in the U.S. The company said it has agreed to a deal allowing rival Miller Brewing Co. to handle Grolsch for an undisclosed amount of money.
This change comes after Miller’s European parent company, SABMiller, acquired the owner of the Grolsch beers brand, Royal Grolsch NV, in February. The distribution deal is expected to close by Aug. 1. Financial details have not been released.
Milwaukee-based Miller will take over as importer of the complete Grolsch brand line-up.
“The time is right to end our importation of these brands,” Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of marketing, David Peacock. “It is important that our wholesalers who transition these brands are able to protect their investments. This agreement includes provisions for our distributors that will compensate them appropriately.”
Grolsch now will be granted access to Miller’s some 450 distributors. The distributors will be given the chance to stock the Dutch beer in their stores.
Anheuser-Busch is the brewer of Budweiser and Bud Light and leads the American domestic market in beer sales.
Gurkan appointed Campbell’s vp of development
CAMDEN, N.J. Campbell Soup Co. has appointed Tarkan Gurkan as its vice president of corporate development.
Gurkan joins Campbell after 14 years in the food industry business, including seven years with Lehman Brothers, four years with Nabisco Holdings Corporation and three years with Pepsi-Cola Company. He previously worked for the Koc Group, a Turkish industrial company.
Gurkan earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Turkey’s Bogazici University and his master’s in business administration from Dartmouth College.