Miller Brewing Co.’s new product focus is becoming clear . . . literally." data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" >

CLEAR BEER FOR MILLER By Jim Kir

Miller Brewing Co.’s new product focus is becoming clear . . . literally.

Although details are sketchy, the brewer is expected to launch the first-ever clear beer in about a dozen test markets on April 19, backed by a hefty amount of money in a broadcast campaign through Cliff Freeman and Partners/N.Y.
Both Cliff Freeman and Backer Spielvogel Bates/N.Y., which handles Miller’s Genuine Draft products, reportedly pitched the undisclosed brand with Cliff Freeman winning the creative shoot-out.
A Miller spokesperson said Friday that the company doesn’t comment on industry speculation. Cliff Freeman would not return phone calls on Friday.
The assignment would be a boon for Cliff Freeman, which has worked on smaller products for Miller in the past, but hasn’t broken through on a major new assignment until now.
Miller isn’t the first brewer to launch a clear alcohol product. Coors Brewing Co. last year introduced its Zima brand in three test markets and is calling it a ‘clear malt beverage.’
However, the Miller product would be the first clear beer from any major brewer in the U.S. and is expected to be sold as a premium-priced product that would go head-to-head against Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser and other premium-priced beers.
Some test markets include Minneapolis, Detroit, Austin, Texas, and Birmingham, Ala.
One result Miller will look for in the test is how well the product will sell in brown versus clear bottles.
The clear beer is the latest in what may be a busy new product year for the country’s second-largest brewer. Last fall Miller launched a just-below-premium beer – Colders 29 – to take on upstarts Busch and Coors’ Keystone. Although initial sales reports show the new brand is struggling, Miller executives are committed to the project and have a new round of ads out that pitch the beer directly against Keystone. Young & Rubicam/Chicago handles.
But sources said that Miller will be ‘extra aggressive’ this year on the new product front. Miller senior vp/marketing Richard Strup said late last year that Miller will be aggressive on all fronts, including line extensions to its best-selling Lite.
‘Dick Strup wants a closet full of new products that he can move out with at a drop of a hat,’ said one source close to Miller.
Coors’ Zima product has done well in its three test markets, and the company announced last week it was extending the product into Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Miami and Philadelphia.
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