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MillerCoors Looks to Boost Marketing in Face of Beer Sales Slump

Posted by Jennifer Sokolowski on February 21, 2011 01:30 PM

MillerCoors is hoping that cold cans will warm up beer sales this year.

The veteran brewmeister plans to increase spending on marketing and introduce new packaging for Coors Light.

The new Coors Light packaging will include an indicator to show when the beer has reached a “super cold” temperature, MillerCoors CEO Leo Kiely told the Wall Street Journal.

Introducing new packaging is a strategy that has worked in the past to boost sales for Coors Light, which is expected to overtake Budweiser as the No. 2 selling beer the U.S. this year, behind Bud Light.

However, MillerCoors and other beer makers are also going to need an improved economy and more jobs for 21- to 32-year-old men to get them drinking more mass-market beer.

Industry sales volumes fell about 1% in 2010, the second straight year of decline, with MillerCoors’ sales to retailers falling 2.5% in the fourth quarter of last year.

In the meantime, MillerCoors plans to continue to focus on continuing to boost the steady growth of craft beers and imports, which offer higher margins.

Despite sluggish sales, MillerCoors’ fourth-quarter net income increased to $144.2 million from $102.2 million a year earlier, due to cost savings from its merger in 2008.

In another packaging move, Coors Banquet, the brand's "timeless western brew," is encouraging consumers to “Grab a Piece of the Legend” with four commemorative heritage cans available through March.

Bearing distinctive “yellow belly” designs dating back to 1880, each of the four limited-edition cans highlights an era-specific piece of the legendary history of Coors Banquet.

The cans, each featuring the authentic design from the decade it was introduced ranging from 1880 to 1959, include stories about the brands’ "uncompromising and authentic values which have made it a proud part of the American experience for generations."

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