MillerCoors to launch Cape Line, a new line of premium alcohol beverages

MillerCoors today said it plans to release in spring a new line of flavored, sessionable alcohol beverages called Cape Line.

Designed for consumers who are looking for lower-calorie versions of their favorite beverages without sacrificing taste and flavor, Cape Line will contain about half the sugar and calories, on average, of leading flavored malt-base beverages, Bryan Ferschinger, MillerCoors vice president of marketing for innovation and national crafts, said in a note to MillerCoors employees and distributors.

“As a company, one of our top priorities is driving growth in above premium,” Ferschinger said. “In addition to building on the foundation of existing great brands like Blue Moon, Leinenkugel’s, Sol and Peroni, another way we’ll achieve growth in the segment is through innovation.”

Cape Line, which will launch nationally, will be made with six ingredients, none of them artificial. It’s made with fermented cane sugar and qualifies as gluten-free.

The brand hits two sweet spots in the market: consumers’ desire for flavor and for lower calories.

It will enter a space that’s outperformed the beer industry as a whole over the 52-week period ended August 4, according to Nielsen all-outlet and convenience data. The top 16 brands in the FMB space are up 6 percent to $2.4 billion in sales over that period.

The top-selling brands in the segment — Mike’s Harder, Twisted Tea, Smirnoff Ice, Mike’s Hard and the Lime-a-Rita franchise — are full-flavored and each check in with more than 190 calories per 12-ounce serving.

On the other end of the calorie spectrum, lighter-flavored hard seltzers such as White Claw, Truly and Henry’s Hard Sparkling Water are on a tear, up triple digits over the 52-week period on a much smaller base. Each contains 100 calories or fewer per 12-ounce serving.

Cape Line was developed to deliver on both consumer needs: delivering flavor without the higher calorie and higher sugar counts, Ferschinger said.

MillerCoors will support the brand with a “robust national marketing plan,” Ferschinger said. “With Cape Line, we are bringing a relevant, unique solution to consumers, one that we believe has significant runway.”