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Coke iconic bottle gets a metal attitude

BY Tara Smith

ATLANTA Coca-Cola in 2008 will begin test-marketing Coke and Coke Zero products in aluminum bottles, joining Budweiser and PepsiCo in embracing this cutting-edge form of packaging.

The benefits of aluminum bottles include enhanced graphic capabilities and the ability to keep beverages colder longer. Though they cost about three times that of glass, the the company commissioned five young design groups from around the world to create free-form designs for limited-edition issues of its all-new contoured aluminum bottle. Coke will roll out one of the five newly designed bottles every several months or so, giving the campaign a lifespan of approximately a year.

The first of the new designs to be introduced features a “retro” look that incorporates the “dynamic ribbon” from Coca-Cola’s logo. Like all of the designs produced, the bottle has a daytime look and a glow-in-the-dark look that is achieved when the bottle is viewed under ultraviolet light, as might be the case in a darkened club.

The new 8-ounce packaging is symbolic of Coke’s refined focus on revamping its core identity. The company is targeting young, urban trendsetters as the initial audience for its new package. The bottles will first be tested at high-profile events and clubs in such markets as Atlanta and Philadelphia with the hope that the package’s exclusivity will generate a buzz that will help inject new excitement into—and ultimately new sales for—the brand.

This marks the second foray by Coke into aluminum bottles, the first being its new Caribou Coffee line in 12-ounce Alumi-Tek bottles that launched in August.

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Miller brews up light craft beers for masses

BY Tara Smith

MILWAUKEE Miller Brewing Co. announced late last week that it would test market the Miller Lite Brewers Collection in Minneapolis, Charlotte, N.C., San Diego, and Baltimore beginning in February.

The three new versions of Miller Lite will be a blonde ale, an amber beer and a wheat beer—each with fewer calories and carbohydrates than a typical beer for that style. The three new beers will target mainstream drinkers and capitalize on trends that favor light beer, greater variety of beer styles and a willingness to pay more for higher-quality beers. They also could help establish a new beer industry category, something Miller chief marketing officer Randy Ransom calls “craft-style light.”

Light beer makes up roughly one-third of U.S. beer sales volume and is the dominant category in the beer industry, but craft beers, such as Samuel Adams Boston Lager, are taking a growing share of sales. That niche accounted for only about 3 percent of sales in 2006 but saw an 11.7 percent sales volume increase over 2005, compared with industry-wide growth of 2 percent.

The three beers will initially be available in six-pack bottles and priced between mainstream light beers and typical craft beers, the company said.

Miller Lite is Miller’s largest brand, accounting for 47 percent of the company’s sales volume in 2006.

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Kellogg to expand research facility

BY Tara Smith

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. Kellogg Co. on Wednesday announced plans to expand its W.K. Kellogg Institute for Food and Nutrition Research facility. The 157,000-square-foot addition will accommodate up to 300 employees, though president and chief executive officer David Mackay said job creation is not necessarily tied to the expansion.

The expanded facility will include food and packaging review rooms, chemistry labs, test kitchens, development labs and a large, flexible production pilot plant where new ideas for products are tested before full-scale production in any of the company’s manufacturing facilities. Construction is to begin in the second quarter of 2008; the facility may be operational in the third quarter of 2009.

The Battle Creek-based maker of cereal and snacks proposed the $54 million expansion plan to the Battle Creek City Commission in October.

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