Miller withdraws test marketing of craft beers

MILWAUKEE After a month of less-than positive responses to its Miller Lite Brewing Collection craft beer variations in several Midwestern markets, newly-formed MillerCoors has ended testing in order to “rethink the brand,” the company has said. The recent test run began in April and was slated to last through September, but since has been halted.

Craft beer variations of Miller Lite, which blend the original with various styles such as amber, blonde and wheat ales, did not fare as well as expected among taste-testers in cities like Baltimore, Charlotte, N.C. and Minneapolis, a MillerCoors spokesman has said.

MillerCoors said that the idea behind the Miller Lite Brewing Collection was to market a low-calorie Miller Lite to craft drinkers and attract new beer drinkers, as well. But the company met some hang-ups spreading the message, as well as separately identifying classic Miller v from the craft collection.

Thursday, Miller’s parent company, SABMiller, reported that for the previous quarter 2008 major beer brand sales have fallen by 2 percent in North America, and lager consumption was down 1.6 percent around the globe. Additionally, North American retailer purchases of Miller Lite were down by 1.6 percent. Miller High Life sales were up less than 1 percent.

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