Brand Director for the Aspen Edge Push

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15 of 25 > GO TO Next 2004 Woman to Watch

Sara Mirelez gave up a career in bean counting for suds selling.

The Colorado native was fascinated by the marketing strategy involved in helping drive Coors Brewing

Sara Mirelez, brand director for Aspen Edge and Killian's Irish Red, Coors Brewing Co.

Co.'s business forward. Ms. Mirelez -- who in 1992 penned an article for the Journal of Accounting Education titled "Activity-Based Costing: A Necessity for the Future of Manufacturing" -- felt confined by number crunching.

Not the accountant type
"I have a lot of energy [and] creativity that probably was a little more difficult to tap into in an accounting role," says Ms. Mirelez, 37. "People would say, 'Sara, you don't fit the mold of an accountant or finance person.' "

She fit in so well as a marketer, however, that Coors charged her with launching its Aspen Edge low-carb beer.

The brand, which rolled out earlier this year, is aimed at people in their late 20s and older, and is positioned against Anheuser-Busch's Michelob Ultra, which triggered the low-carb beer craze when it was launched in 2002.

Carb-conscious beer drinkers
The goal with Aspen Edge was to create a full-flavor low-carb beer that people would be willing to pay up to buy. According to Coors' research, carb-conscious drinkers expect to sacrifice on taste but see a better-tasting option as ideal. "There was a willingness to pay more for quality and pay more for a low-carb option," Ms. Mirelez says.

As brand manager of Aspen Edge, Ms. Mirelez oversaw all the different facets of the beer, always reinforcing its taste. For instance, the product's white and blue packaging was designed to convey the idea the beer was "cold, refreshing and clean."

Since 2000, Ms. Mirelez has held a variety of marketing posts on the Coors Original, Coors Light, Killian's Irish Red and Blue Moon brands. She worked on the first Coors Light ad campaign starring the twins and oversaw a packaging redesign of Killian's.

New promotion
With a new product "you're developing it all together," says Ms. Mirelez, who last month was promoted to brand director overseeing Aspen Edge and Killian's.

Ms. Mirelez, a Junior Achievement instructor, now has more room to be herself. "I get to use both sides of my brain," she says.

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