The recent news that MillerCoors a bourbon-like lager called “Miller Fortune” is not as unexpected as many people seem to think. In fact it, and some of the reasons behind the new beer, were known last year. For example, AdAge had an article in September of 2013, Draft Dodging: Why Big Beer Is Going Flat, and subtitled “And What Industry Giants Are Doing to Get Their Buzz Black.” The article was in part a roundup of talk at the NBWA meeting earlier that month in Las Vegas, and discussed the many challenges big beer was facing as overall beer sales were falling.
Check out the section near the end of the piece entitled “Liquor is Winning” which provides an overview of reasons that spirits are taking market share from beer. The mega beer brands were already then plotting their next move “with higher-alcohol extensions targeting nighttime drinking occasions.” They went on to mention that “MillerCoors next year will launch Miller Fortune at 6.9% alcohol by volume (compared with 4.2% for most light beers), following the 2012 launch of Bud Light Platinum, which checks in at 6%.” Now that it’s here, we’re closer to answering the question posed by that article. “Will these strategies bring the sexy back to beer?” Back in September they said it was “too soon to tell,” but I think we’ll soon know. What do you think? Is this going to change big beer’s fortunes?