MillerCoors to launch Two Hats, a light beer with fruit flavors

MillerCoors is preparing to launch early next year a new beer aimed at recruiting tough-to-reach 21- to 24-year-olds.

Two Hats, a line of clean-finishing light beers brewed with a hint of natural fruit flavor, is slated to roll out nationwide in early 2018 in six-packs of 16-oz. cans. The 4.2 percent alcohol-by-volume beer will debut with two flavors that perform well among younger legal-drinking-age consumers — lime and pineapple — and be sold at an affordable price point.

“Above all, Two Hats is light beer, so it is delivering on those classic light beer profiles with the addition of subtle fruit flavors," says Justine Stauffer, brand manager for Two Hats.…

With its combination of sessionability and flavor, Two Hats is playing into trends that resonate with its target demographic. Flavored beer is a hot part of the overall beer market, accounting for 27 percent of total U.S. beer launches in 2015, up 80 percent from 2010, according to a report from the market research firm Mintel.

Nearly three in five U.S. alcohol beverage drinkers said they were interested in beer with fruit flavors, the report says. What’s more, one in five beer drinkers drank a flavored beer in 2015, led by women aged 22 to 34, 39 percent of whom drank flavored beer that year.

“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,” says David Kroll, MillerCoors’ chief marketing officer. Two Hats “is meant to serve as an easy entry point into beer and an introduction to the rest of our portfolio.”

Attracting this new generation of legal-drinking-age consumers is critical for MillerCoors to get to sustainable growth, a goal the organization has committed to achieve by 2019.

Two Hats will be backed with a national push focused on digital and non-traditional advertising and an experience-focused marketing program. Planned initiatives include product sampling efforts, targeted social advertising campaigns and custom merchandising.

Younger legal-age drinkers are a difficult cohort for beer companies to capture, in part because this group of consumers view beer as “very polarizing,” Stauffer says. Company data show that nearly 40 percent of “beer loss” is taking place among those ages 21 to 24.

“There’s just a lot of choice with cheaper spirits and wines that are delivering on a low-price entry point,” she says. “The good news is, we know that if we get them to drink beer at (age) 21, they are two times more likely to stick with beer throughout their lifetime.”