Last week, MillerCoors announced it was eliminating approximately 350 salaried positions across the company, “the latest in a series of moves it has made in an effort to get its business back on track.” The transnational beer company is also making other moves. MillerCoors has noted it will stop making its new fruity Millennial-focused light beer Two Hats after less than a year, it will roll out a new lineup of low-calorie flavored beverages called Cape Line in 2019 and it will refocus hardcore on its classic Coors Light brand. This week, the company noted another imitative. It hopes to take one of its acquired craft brands (Saint Archer Brewing Co. out of San Diego) national.
MillerCoors bought a controlling share of Saint Archer back in 2015 — the year to buy and sell breweries. The brand now sits under MillerCoor’s Tenth and Blake umbrella, which is its craft and import business development arm (home to brands like Blue Moon Brewing Co., Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. and Terrapin Beer Co.). Saint Archer was founded in 2013 by a unique mix of cool kids in industries ranging from surfing to film to music to skateboarding. Guys like Paul Rodriguez (professional skateboarder with eight X Games medals) and Josh Kerr (recognized aerial surfing specialist) headlined the brew crew. The company grew quickly, expanding to around 35,000 bbls the same year it was purchased.
On MillerCoors’ Behind the Beer news page, the company announced big plans for Saint Archer and its low-calorie lager, Saint Archer Gold, a Helles-inspired brewski. Early next year, it will test the new craft light lager in four markets (Austin, Texas, Charlotte, N.C., Indianapolis and the entire state of Arizona) with the intent to eventually take the brand national. That’s a pretty big deal. It even comes in a skinny can, as you can see in the above photo. From the post:
The beer, at 95 calories and 2.6 grams of carbohydrates per 12-ounce serving, seeks to fill what brewery president Brad Nadal calls a “white space in craft brewing.” Gold, he says, is a “low-calorie, low-carbohydrate beer that will appeal to both craft drinkers who want a more sessionable option without leaving craft, and Michelob Ultra drinkers who are interested in craft but still want lower carbs and calories.”
The company noted that low-calorie beer brands are expanding and that lagers are the new thing in craft brewing — even though craft lagers are actually an old thing with classic brands from Anchor Steam to Sam Adams to Great Lakes Brewing founding their flagships with lagers — but both lagers and low-calorie beers are definitely trending. Some interesting data from the article:
Led by Michelob Ultra, above-premium lower-calorie beers have outperformed the beer industry as a whole for several years. Year-to-date through Aug. 25, Ultra is up 19.1 percent in sales dollars on a 16.8 percent rise in volume, per Nielsen. Ultra’s success drew Constellation Brands to the space, which this year launched nationally Corona Premier, a lower-calorie light lager that’s on fire, ranking as the No. 3 Nielsen growth brand in the most-recent measurement.
Meanwhile, a wave of craft brewers is getting into lagers, light lagers and lower-ABV blonde ales to meet growing consumer demand for lighter beers, long the public’s preferred style. Michigan-based Founders, for example, is tracking for another record year, led by two lower-ABV beers: Founders All-Day IPA and Founders Solid Gold, a lager sold in 24-packs priced as low as $17.99, about 80 cents a can.