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MillerCoors Launches Cheap, Fruit-Flavored Light Beer for Millennials

Food & Wine logo Food & Wine 2/7/2018 Mike Pomranz
a can and a glass of beer © Courtesy of MillerCoors

Large beer companies have been losing business, and as often seems to be the case, much of the blame is falling onto young people. As people in their 20s increasingly turn to wine and spirits (or not drinking at all), the beer industry has been looking for a way to win this demographic back. And MillerCoors has a new plan: Hook ‘em early by pandering to them with something cheap and easy drinking.

Two Hats is not only being described by MillerCoors as “a new line of light beers with a hint of all-natural fruit flavor,” but also a “cheap option that suits the taste and budget of a new generation of drinkers who aren’t currently big on beer.” The 4.2 percent ABV brews (the same as Miller Lite) are launching in two varieties, lime and pineapple, and are intended to retail at the inexpensive price of “about five dollars” nationwide for either a four- or six-pack of 16-ounce cans. (Beer prices are extremely regionalized which likely explains the variable packaging to come in at the same price point.)

“We want to give 21- to 24-year-old drinkers, who don’t consider beer to be great-tasting and affordable, an option they can get on board with,” Justine Stauffer, Two Hats brand manager, said in a statement. “As soon as people realize that a beer this good is about five dollars, their immediate reaction is, ‘Wait, what?’”

Interestingly, the name “Two Hats” feels extremely on the nose. The brand explains that it “merges the refreshing character of a light beer with a familiar hint of all-natural fruit flavor that never overpowers.” But in common speech, the idea of “wearing two hats” isn’t about merging anything: It’s about working in more than one position. And clearly, Two Hats appears to be trying to wear as many hats as physically possible. The fruit flavors simultaneously conjure up everything from the Bud Light Lime market to the flavored craft beer market to the fruity cocktail market to even flavored malt beverage market.

However, discussing the forthcoming launch on MillerCoors’ blog back in September, David Kroll, MillerCoors’ chief marketing officer, wasn’t shy about the new brand’s larger intentions. “We know that people who choose beer when they become of legal drinking age are two times more likely to continue drinking beer throughout their lifetime, and as an organization, we have an opportunity to regain ground with this group,” he stated. “[Two Hats] is meant to serve as an easy entry point into beer and an introduction to the rest of our portfolio.” Turns out “Two Hats” is less on the nose than “Reel ‘Em In.”

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