MILWAUKEE - As the beer industry continues its slide, Miller Brewing Co. is hoping that this week's introduction of its clear beer will be the biggest new product boon since it launched its Lite brand nearly two decades ago.
Miller is expected to unveil the brand in close to six test markets in the next few weeks with a roll-out in additional markets slated for late April. Teaser ads are also expected to break in the undisclosed markets from offbeat creative shop Cliff Freeman & Partners/N.Y.
Sources close to the brewer said that Miller wants the same splash it received when Miller launched Lite. The brewer is looking to establish a franchise early before other breweries have time to react in order to gain the same momentum Lite did early on. The new brand comes at a time when the two top premium brands, Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser and Miller's Lite, are stumbling.
With Clear, Miller will probably look to gain more women drinkers, who have generally shied away from heavier, full-flavor premium brews. Miller Clear is a full-calorie beer that is expected to have a smother taste than full-flavor beers.
Although light beers have been successful with women, brewers have had trouble attracting women to full-calorie beers.
Coors Brewing Co.'s launch of its clear malt-based alcohol product, Zima, has already surpassed the company's early projections. Zima has found favor mostly with women, but is seeing success with men as well, surprising many analysts and industry watchers. It is the key brand in Coors' marketing strategy in 1993.
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