CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Citing taste and supply issues, MillerCoors is temporarily discontinuing its Coors Light Silver Bullet Aluminum Pints, which were launched at the start of the football season and promoted with a significant TV ad campaign.
"Because of the fixed aluminum pint capacity from our supplier and recurring package integrity issues, we have been unable to satisfactorily supply our customers," the brewer said in a message to distributors. "Additionally, these package issues occasionally have resulted in off-taste issues for Coors Light. Therefore, we are temporarily discontinuing production of the Coors Light Aluminum Pint effective today."
The Coors Light pints first hit stores on Sept. 1 and were aimed at reinforcing the brand's position as "The World's Most Refreshing Beer." Manufactured by Colorado-based Ball Corporation, the pints feature a resealable twist-off cap, wide mouth and were touted as being "100 percent recyclable" and "perfect for any occasion, including patios, beaches, sporting events and other occasions in which glass may not be appropriate," according to a statement issued in August.
MillerCoors will continue to make Miller Lite Aluminum Pints, which hasn't had any taste issues. "Rather than not fully meet demand on both Coors Light and Miller Lite Aluminum Pints, we will now be able to fully supply our customers with Miller Lite going forward," the brewer told distributors.
The difference between the two brands is that Coors Light is not pasteurized and Miller Lite is. That could be one reason Coors Light has had the taste issues when put in the pint. "It's a hypothesis but we don't know why and we are trying to figure it out," said company spokesperson Julian Green.
Ball spokesman Scott McCarty said: "Innovative packaging is never easy; and from time to time, issues come up that affect packaging. We work with our customers to quickly resolve them."
MillerCoors told distributors it would relaunch the Coors Light pints "once the package defects and supply issues are resolved," but that inventory already in the market is "cleared to sell."
TV ads, by Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftFCB, included one spot showing an oversized bottle launched into space like a rocket, with mission control declaring "Houston we have refreshment." The ads are being pullled from the air.
Pint sales represent a small fraction of total Coors Light sales, partly because of the distribution issues, but the "buzz on them has been good" with consumers, said Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer's Insights. The discontinuation "is certainly not good," he said. It's a "hot new package and they're having a lot of trouble getting it right."