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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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Peppermint-flavored Peeps are holiday stars

BY Tara Smith

BETHLEHEM, Pa. Just Born recently introduced Peeps Marshmallow Peppermint-Flavored Stars.

The Peeps peppermint stars, the company’s first peppermint-flavored Peeps, are wrapped in red and white stripes and adorned with red sparkles. They are available in a nine-count package for a suggested 99 cents.

“For years consumers have requested a peppermint-flavored Peeps product,” said Kathy Bassininski, Just Born’s brand director. “This item delivers a perfect blend of peppermint taste and marshmallow texture in a popular symbol of the holiday season.”

Also available this holiday season are Peeps trees and Peeps snowmen, which retail for 59 cents for a three-count package and 99 cents for a nine-count package; Peeps cutouts, a six-count cookie-flavored item retail for 99 cents; and Peeps decorating kits, six-count holiday kits that retail for $1.99.

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Coca-Cola BOD elects Jacob Wallenberg as director

BY Tara Smith

ATLANTA The Coca-Cola Co. Board of Directors on Thursday elected Jacob Wallenberg as a director of the company, effective Jan. 1, 2008. Wallenberg currently is chairman of the Board of Investor AB, the largest industrial holding company in the Nordic region. He also serves as vice-chairman of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB and is a board member of The Nobel Foundation, The Stockholm School of Economics and The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

From 1990 to 1992, Wallenberg was deputy managing director of Investor AB. After rejoining the SEB Group in 1993, Mr. Wallenberg was appointed chief executive officer in 1997 and was chairman of the board from 1998 to 2005. As part of his election, Wallenberg was appointed to the public issues and diversity review committee and the committee on directors and corporate governance.

The Board also elected William D. Hawkins III as vice president of the Company and appointed him general tax counsel. Hawkins has worked in the Company’s Office of General Tax Counsel since 1998 and will now lead the Company’s tax policy and strategy team. Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Co., Hawkins was a partner with the law firms of White & Case and, later, McClure, Trotter & Mentz in Washington, D.C.

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