Miller Brewing’s MGD hopes 64-calorie version will fatten sales

CHICAGO The Miller Brewing Co. last prepped an aggressive regional rollout of a 64-calorie, female-targeted version of Miller Genuine Draft in a move it hopes will revive one of the most moribund franchises in domestic beer. The new line’s calorie count is a little more than half MGD Light’s 110 calories.

MGD 64, which had been test marketed in Madison, Wis., late last year, sold well enough to persuade Miller executives to greenlight it in major Midwestern markets starting March 1. There, it will be backed by print, radio and outdoor advertising from MGD’s agency of record, WPP Group’s Y&R, Chicago.

Miller chief marketing officer Randy Ransom said MGD 64 would actually replace MGD Light in the marketplace, and would be aimed at stealing women drinkers from rival brands such as Michelob Ultra, Bud Light and Coors Light. At 64 calories, the brand is the lowest-calorie mass-marketed domestic beer to date. By contrast, full-calorie MGD has 143 calories and Miller Lite has 96 calories.

As for marketing, there will be a clear focus on placing ads in and around health clubs, executives close to the situation said, noting that the tagline used in the trial market, “As light as it gets,” was well-received by women. “It’s a niche brand with a specialty target,” Ransom said. “We want to be very focused and targeted with the media we use for it.”

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