Miller launches super strength beer for Russian market

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MILWAUKEE -- U.S.-based Miller Brewing Company has extended the distribution of its beers in Russia and is launching a new super-strength beer made exclusively for this market.

Starting this month Miller begins a three-year agreement to supply a variety of products for distribution through Stanley Beverages, a Russian company with offices in Moscow and Riga, Latvia, which distributes to 50 locations throughout Russia.

Key brands selected for export are Miller Genuine Draft in 12-ounce bottles and a new product designed specifically for the Russian market, Miller Magnum 7.2 in 12-ounce bottles and 16-ounce cans. While most of Miller's beers have an alcohol content of between 4.5% to 5%, Miller Magnum has a 7.2% alcohol content. Distribution of all the Miller products will be primarily in urban areas including Moscow and St. Petersburg. A high proportion of beer sales go through roadside kiosks, according to Miller Brewing.

The launch is supported by billboard advertising in English and Cyrillic, subway posters, the free distribution of leaflets and one million branded plastic bags. Miller's advertising in Russia is handled by Lausanne, Switzerland- based promotions agency Stutz.

Miller began limited distribution in Russia several years ago, but this marks its first concerted effort to build significant distribution.

"Exporting to Russia has been a logical extension of our strategy to develop and exploit global brands," says David Gore, Miller Brewing manager for the Russia/Middle East/Africa.

"As our No. 1 export, Miller Genuine Draft was our first choice to lead the drive into this market. We are also confident that our new beer, Miller Magnum 7.2, appeals to local tastes and will complement our existing portfolio of internationally proven beer brands," says Gore.

Copyright September 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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