Thursday, December 20, 2007

Less Filling! Tastes Great?

It only took 30 years to come up with the idea, but Miller recently announced that it would be introducing different varieties of its Lite brand. Tapping into the growing craft beer movement, Miller will test market 3 new beer styles that are lower in calories and carbs than other beers in that style.

Those of us in the Wisconsin market will not be privy to the new Lite wheat, blonde ale, and amber, because clearly, if the state of cheese and brats wants an amber ale, we're going to have an amber ale, calories and carbs be damned. The lone Midwest market to get these new taste sensations is Minneapolis, and they will also be sold in Baltimore, San Diego, and calorie-conscious Charlotte.

I can't slam Miller for this because I haven't had the beers, so I'm giving them the benefit of the extreme doubt. My only thought is: most people who drink Miller Lite don't do so exclusively because of the calorie content, but also because of the style of the beer (pilsner more or less). I think the share of wheat beer drinkers that have desperately been searching for a low-cal option is small, and though I'm sure the desire exists (hell it would be great if every beer was low more beer guts!), I don't think those drinkers are going to switch to Miller's options to save 50 calories if the full taste isn't there as well.

I think that if Miller wants to crack into the craft beer market, it should start making some craft beers. Letting the brewmasters at Leine's run wild with bold selections like the "Big Eddy" series is a good start, but in my amateur opinion they should take the route of Coors and establish totally new craft brands. Blue Moon, anyone? Who knows, maybe now with the infusion of Coors personnel, they will.

Links of Interest:

Full story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentintel

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