MC Rolls Out New Brands
What is the top selling craft style. IPA’s of course.
So you would think the major brewers might consider rolling out some new brands with a few more IBUs, right?
Instead, MillerCoors is fueling its innovation pipeline with coconuts, apples and more “sweetness.”
The offerings, which are rolling out this summer, are: Coco Breve, a coconut water-infused clear malt beverage targeting women; Redd's Apple Ale, an apple-flavored beer that's already sold oversees; and Third Shift, a lager that marks the start of a series of small batch brewer creations that MillerCoors plans to start testing in the mass market.
The brands, which will initially debut regionally, come as MillerCoors and other big brewers search for new products to compete with smaller craft brewers and liquor marketers, which have stolen share from beer thanks in part to new flavorful innovations and newly aggressive advertising.
The goal is to “win over millennial consumers, who constantly change their drinking habits in search of variety -- unlike previous generations that were more loyal to certain styles or brands,” according an an article in AdAge.
Coco Breve will hit stores in selected markets beginning June 1. The beverage will comes in kiwi lime and mango citrus favors.
Redd's Apple Ale is an apple-flavored ale MillerCoors is positioning to compete with flavored malt beverages such as Mike's Hard and Twisted Tea. SABMiller already sells the brand overseas in markets such as Poland, Russia, Columbia and South Africa, where flavors are tweaked based on local preferences. The U.S. version is sweet with and abv of5%.
Third Shift is formally called "Third Shift Band of Brewers," which is described as having a "sweet maltiness that dominates slightly over a clean, hop bitterness."
I've given up trying to figure out the strategy of the big brewers and the mass market consumers preferences. I said Bud Light Platinum would be a horrendous flop and I was totally wrong. Apparently its chugging right along and so is Bud Light Lime. Now if you look at what those two line extensions did to the overall volume of Bud Light I'd wager its flat if not down but its still far more successful a brand than I ever anticipated.
As far as the new offerings from MC are concerned it does make sense. It's much cheaper to produce watered down sugary drinks with an appeal to 80% of drinkers out there than to try and craft a decent IPA to go after the 5% of the craft beer crowd. On top of that, almost every IPA drinker is pretty anti big brands so you'd likely just being throwing money down a hole to roll one out.
The reason Blue Moon is so successful is because its a gateway beer. Its designed to target consumers as they start their transition from BMC beers to something craftier. They've tried to extend that line so as that consumer moves on from wit beers to pale ales, ipas, stouts, porters etc but haven't had much luck with that so far. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Boston Lager are still the two big winners when it comes to converting BMC drinkers to craft beer.
In all fairness, mega guys' innovations are not about competing against craft brewers, but merely chasing the market. The truth is, the overall beer market is shrinking, and beer is losing to wine and spirits, low carb diet, and aging boomers. While the craft brewers are worried about having the capital to expand, mega guys are seeing the ever decreasing volume as a whole -- that's why they are looking for ways to expand product width (different FMBs) and product depth (different lifestyle beverages).
That said, mega guys are extremely poor at what the craft guys do the best: production flexibility. It's simply too expensive and inefficient for a mega guy to keep multiple yeast strains, to tie down a 5000 bbl tank to lager for 8 weeks, to make small runs of multiple SKUs without flooding the warehouse and market, or to CIP every tank and every line after every run...
While the mega guys' new brands seem pathetic to the craft brewers, honestly, they are doing their best -- they are simply using different tools to meet different objectives for the larger (different) market, for better or for worse.