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11/22/2011

Will Beer Grow in 2012? "More Headwinds Than Tailwinds," Sez Tom Long; Job 1: Fixing Lite

"We've got to find ways to grow the size and value of the whole category," MillerCoors ceo Tom Long said in interview at Beer Insights Seminar. "Every time you lose a light drinker to craft, per caps go down," he added, "even though there is more interest in beer." Today's millennial consumer is "very promiscuous," "big on experimentation" and their "palates are changing." To address this, expect MC "to make a handful of bets" to compete more effectively in various growth categories, possibly including PABs/cider and certainly craft. (MC has so far announced fewer new products/packages for 2012 than AB.) MillerCoors must get "much, much bigger" in craft, Tom reiterated. That said, MC's top jobs are still "fixing Miller Lite" and to "keep premium lights strong," according to Tom. To accomplish that MC must do "a better job of marketing" Lite, Tom said, noting that MC has changed "almost everyone on the Miller Lite team" and new group "understands young people" and "not tethered to old strategy." He conceded "maybe we didn't do best job" on this yr's "summer camp" Lite campaign. Can the beer biz grow in 2012? It's "got more headwinds than tailwinds," said Tom, but if "we do our job in renovating premium lights" that will "help mightily." That means "great marketing and great salesmanship." Still, it's gonna be tuff. "Economic and market environments in the USA are expected to remain difficult," SABMiller ceo Graham Mackay said Nov 17. Premium light beer drinkers still getting "squeezed," added Graham, and segment "struggling."

Publishing Info

  • Year: 2011
  • Volume: 42
  • Issue #: 22
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