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MillerCoors Tweaks Miller Chill

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MillerCoors is planning to launch a leaner version of its Miller Chill, the lime-flavored brew it introduced in 2007 that got a quick and effective response from Anheuser-Busch in the form of Bud Light Lime the next year.

The new Miller Chill boasts 100 calories versus the original 110 and a slightly tweaked bottle design. New ads from Saatchi & Saatchi will support the relaunch in May, a MillerCoors rep said.

Miller Chill was considered a success when it launched, but that was questioned when sales fell off quickly with cooler weather. Eric Shepard, executive editor of Beer Marketer's Insights, said while craft brewers are comfortable with the idea of seasonal entries, larger players like A-B and MillerCoors are not yet. "They like to not think of it as a seasonal beer," Shepard said.

MillerCoors sold 350,000 barrels of Miller Chill versus 1.6 million barrels for Bud Light Lime, a copycat A-B entry that enjoyed stronger sales in the colder months. Shepard said that A-B's achievement with that beer likely prompted MillerCoors to give Miller Chill another try. Said Shepard: "Barring the huge success of Bud Light Lime, Miller wouldn't be doing this."