MillerCoors CEO Tom Long Talks Craft Beer with Wall Street Journal (Terrapin, Leinenkugels…)

18 December 2011

imageI know what you’re thinking…but stay tuned.  This is a craft beer story.  Mike Esterl from the Wall Street Journal recently sat down with  MillerCoors CEO Tom Long, and you’d be surprised how much the conversation turned to craft beer.  Tom left the door open to a possible taste-tweak to Miller Lite, citing that “the craft beer explosion as awakened the taste buds of drinkers.”  Tom also responded to questions about small craft brewers taking market share away from MillerCoors by saying, “

We're a big player in craft. The single-biggest brand in craft is Blue Moon, which is ours. The fourth-biggest brand in craft is [our brand] Leinenkugel's. At [craft business unit] Tenth and Blake, the plan is to grow about 60% over the next three years.

If we can play really hard in the fastest sector right now, which is craft, which we are doing, and we can do well with Miller Lite, Coors Light and Miller 64, then our company will do quite well.

 

Finally when asked about MillerCoors minority stake in Terrapin Brewing, Tom replied,”

 We can help them get distribution faster. We bring an enormous amount of assets in brewing processes, technology, procurement and back office that small companies don't have. “ 

All in all a pretty craft-tilted interview and a very telling sign for the macro vs craft battle that we’ll witness in the next 5 years.

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