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MillerCoors Discontinues MGD 64 Lemonade Beer Launched In May

MillerCoors LLC, a joint venture between Molson Coors Brewing Group Inc. (TAP) and SABMiller PLC (SBMRY, SAB.JO), is discontinuing its MGD 64 Lemonade after less than three months on the market.

MillerCoors, the second-largest U.S. beer maker by revenue, introduced the low-calorie lemonade-flavored beer in May as a limited-edition summertime product, expanding from its three-year-old Miller Genuine Draft 64 beer. The number refers to the beer's calorie content.

"Winning in beer requires testing the bounds of the market with innovation," the company said in a statement. "With that commitment, however, comes a recognition that not every innovation will succeed."

MillerCoors is telling distributors that it will buy back all MGD 64 Lemonade currently in warehouses, where legal. It will also cover destruction costs up to $2.50 per case.

The company's prior foray into flavored beers--the lime-flavored Miller Chill introduced in 2007--started out strong but sales slid after larger rival Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI.BT, BUD) unveiled Bud Light Lime the next year.

The beer market has been pressured in recent years as stubbornly high unemployment among its core consumers keeps discretionary spending in check. In May, MillerCoors reported volume fell 1.4% from the prior year. Coors Light and Miller Lite sales improved, but MGD 64 saw double-digit declines.

15 Aug. 2011

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