We all know that the big national beer brands are not going to let the microbrews and craft brewers continue to eat away at their market share. Budweiser has tried to stem the loss in market share by making a continual stream of fake microbrew and craft beer labels to try to dilute the competition into non-existence, but apparently consumers are too savvy to fall for that game. Most of those beers tasted suspiciously like the usual swill that Bud made and the labels lacked any real identification as to the actual owner.
Now, MillerCoors is trying a different approach: flavored beer. The advantage to MillerCoors is that it does not have to actually meet the competition head-on by improving the quality of its beer. It just takes the same cheap old watered-down rice beer and adds some flavorings. Some of the flavors that are up for trial runs include “Redd’s Apple Ale” and “Coco Breve,” a coconut water infused clear malt beer targeted to women and coming in a variety of flavors, including kiwi and mango. I can’t say that I’ll be trying either of these two, but if try it, drop a comment on how you like it.
Some of the press surrounding the MillerCoors concept sounds very quaint. We are told that there is a group of MillerCoors brewers who conduct experiments during their “downtime.” The story is that these chaps are formally called the “Third Shift Band of Brewers.” Somehow I just doubt that any large corporation in the United States actually lets their workers play around with their industrial plant during their “downtime” — just as I doubt that the workers actually have any “downtime.” We are talking about massive stills that make thousands of gallons of beer an hour, not some home brew kit in the back room. It makes for a nice story, but it has too much of marketing shine for me to buy into the storyline.