The craft beer industry continues to enjoy considerable growth and U.S. mega-brewers are devoting more attention to a segment that still only owns just 7 percent of the entire beer market.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, MillerCoors President Tom Long said his company is a ‘big player in craft,’ citing the Blue Moon and Leinenkugel’s brands as examples.
Long said he plans to grow the company’s craft portfolio 60 percent over the next three years through its craft beer division in Tenth and Blake.
According to Long, craft is an area MillerCoors is most interested — and for good reason. Recent SIG data puts the craft segment up 13.8 percent in volume growth and 17.7 percent in dollar growth for the 52 week period ending November 27th.
When asked about his strategy with respect to craft, Long said he hopes to ‘play really hard in the fastest sector right now, which is craft.’
But what can a large company like MillerCoors have to offer craft brewers? Distribution, among other things, according to Long. He also cited an ‘enormous amount of assets in brewing processes, technology procurement and a back office’ that many craft brewers aren’t fortunate enough to have due to financial limitations.
MillerCoors recently purchased a minority stake (less than 25 percent) in the GA-based craft brewer Terrapin and Long hinted that similar acquisitions could be on the way, telling the WSJ that MillerCoors is ‘in dialogue with lots of companies.’
Long also said he expects to see the overall beer industry down another 1 or 2 percent in 2012.