Is MillerCoors prepping a new beer called Miller Fortune?
That is the implication of this filing the brewer made recently with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application notes the name has been reserved for a beer, but provides few other details. Asked about the filing, a MillerCoors spokesman said in an email: "With our focus on innovation, we have a lot of products in development but many may never get to testing."
The brewer has so far avoided big line extensions while competitor Anheuser-Busch InBev in the past year has rolled out Bud Light Platinum and Budweiser Black Crown, two higher-alcohol brews (6% ABV) that are positioned to compete with spirits for nighttime drinking occasions. It's possible that Miller Fortune could be MillerCoors' response.
Asked about line extensions in an interview with Ad Age earlier this month, MillerCoors Exec VP-Chief Marketing Officer Andy England said: "I'm certainly not averse to using that as marketing tool," but added that "the trick with line extensions is to capture ether different users or different user occasions or both." Asked if the brewer was planning a line extension, he said: "We are always looking at different types of innovation."
This year the marketer seems more focused on reviving Miller Lite, which is getting a slew of new advertising.
Bud Light Platinum launched last year with a pricey Super Bowl ad and enjoyed a successful year one, reaching $387 million in sales at stores as of the end of 2012, making it the 14th-largest U.S beer brand, according to SymphonyIRI. A-B InBev is trying to replicate that success with Black Crown, which debuted in January.