Betting on fruit flavors that suit the tastes of youngest legal drinkers, MillerCoors will launch new economy-priced flavored light beer in early 2018. “Two Hats is a line of light beers brewed with a hint of all-natural fruit flavor created to build relevance with young (21-24 years old) drinkers,” MC cmo David Kroll wrote to distribs yesterday. Lime and Pineapple flavor variants at 4.2% ABV hit first in 6-pks of 16oz cans at “affordable” or “economical price points.” Launch to be supported nationally, tho mostly thru “digital and non-traditional advertising,” according to MC blog post. Recruiting drinkers into beer category early on key because they’re “two times more likely to continue drinking beer throughout their lifetime,” David reminds. And those young legal drinkers represent “nearly 40 percent of ‘beer loss,’” according to MC data cited in post. They “view beer as ‘very polarizing,’” and “there’s just a lot of choice with cheaper spirits and wines that are delivering on a low-price entry point,” brand mgr Justine Stauffer said.
Two Hats branding riffs on playing card design. More traditional “king” and “queen” card artwork features right-side up on top, next to “Crisp Light Beer.” (More “medieval” cues? Thanks Game of Thrones.) Similarly-styled depictions of more modern, younger-looking drinkers mirrored upside-down next to fruit flavor call-outs. So MC clearly trying to play a pair of cards at once: a subpremium light beer and an FMB. Playing off balance of beer + flavor has been focus of higher-end Redd’s marketing for some time, as well as lower-priced Steel Reserve Alloy Series ($23/case in IRI). And Two Hands ain’t first attempt at combining non-beer flavors with economy pricing. Whatever its sales potential, Two Hats could be a tough hand to play with wholesalers who have significant or expanding biz in higher margin FMBs. And “chasing millennial tastes is often like playing a game of whack-a-mole with today’s hot brand turning into tomorrow’s loser as drinkers chase the next new thing,” as Ad Age’s EJ Schultz wrote, referencing succession of FMBs, hard sodas and seltzers that “flooded the market” over last few yrs.