Hard cider is one of the hottest sectors in the alcohol business, but MillerCoors thinks the category is still missing some testosterone. That is why the brewer is punctuating the launch campaign for its new Smith & Forge Hard Cider brand with arm wrestling, facial hair, blacksmiths and a tough-guy character from AMC's "Breaking Bad."
The effort, which is led creatively by WPP's Cavalry, will be backed with a significant media investment as the brewer looks to gain ground in cider. While still much smaller than beer, cider sales grew nearly 100% in the 52 weeks ending Jan. 26 to $220.7 million, according to IRI, which excludes bars and restaurants. But MillerCoors controls only a fraction of the cider market with its upscale Crispin brand, which it acquired in 2012 and has share of 3.5%, according to IRI.
Smith & Forge is going after the common man. MillerCoors sees opportunity in the fact that cider cider purchases skew far less male than beer, according to Nielsen data cited by the brewer.