Amid Flagship Declines, MillerCoors to Cut Employees

MillerCoors yesterday announced that it will cut 360 jobs, firing 200 salaried employees — nearly 2 percent of its active workforce and 6 percent of its salaried posts — and eliminating another 160 unfilled positions.

In a prepared statement, the company said the cuts are an attempt to “to create a more balanced, efficient organizational structure, reduce costs, drive accountability, improve execution and increase speed to market.”

Jonathan Stern, the company’s director of media relations, said that Tenth and Blake — MillerCoors’ craft and import division — will be impacted. Stern said employees from marketing, sales, operations, communications, legal and human resources departments will be impacted.

Stern said that the company’s fixed cost base is too high and its organizational structure is too complex. He did not respond to questions regarding how the company would improve customer service through job cuts.

In an internal memo, MillerCoors CEO Tom Long told employees that the company must revitalize its flagship brands, capture above premium growth and “simplify” its economy portfolio while still delivering “high quality products and customer service.”

The cuts could be in response to poor performance for many MillerCoors flagship brands: sales this year for brands like Miller Lite, Keystone Light and Miller High Life are down considerably through Oct. 6.

In IRI-tracked multi-outlets and convenience stores, MillerCoors volumes are down 1.7 percent year-to-date, with sales down by more than 5 million cases. Dollar sales of Miller Lite, the fourth largest beer brand in the country, are down nearly $60 million through the same period. It’s a similar story for Keystone Light and High Life, dollar sales for which are down 5.5 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.

One bright spot for MillerCoors this year has been the Tenth and Blake portfolio, which includes brands like Blue Moon Brewing and Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing, among others. Through October 6, Blue Moon Belgian White volumes are up 13.3 percent and dollar sales are up 13.6 percent, according to IRI.

New product introductions like Redd’s Apple Ale and Third Shift amber lager are also experiencing success. Both are included in IRI’s list of 100 best-selling beer brands. In fact, Redd’s sales of $85 million in multi-outlet and convenience channels are already comparable to those of craft stalwart Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, at $86 million for the same time period. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the no. 2 best-selling craft brand in the country, according to IRI.

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