Just when you thought light beer could get no lighter comes word that Miller Brewing hopes to pump up the interest in its Miller Genuine Draft Light brand by cutting the calories from 110 to just 64.
Miller Genuine Draft Light 64 will be the lowest calorie light beer on the market from a major national or regional brewer. The move comes after Miller successfully tested the product in Madison, Wisc. It is expected the beer will first be available in the Midwest starting in March and also select western markets.
Miller is also testing craft style extensions of its flagship Miller Lite brand. The moves appear to show that Miller believes there are untapped segments in the light beer market. On one end MGD 64 will appeal to diet conscious drinkers who want to further reduce the calories they consume during a night out. The more flavorful Miller Lite extensions indicate that Miller is seeing some of its base stray towards craft and imported light beers.
It will be interesting to see if Anheuser-Busch or another brewer decides to chase Miller down the caloric scale. At a certain point you have to believe that the flavor of these beers ceases to be anywhere close to traditional beer. However, there are enough beer drinkers who have grown up on light lagers that reduced calories may be more of a selling proposition for them than the actual flavor of the beer. I'll admit I'm saying this having not tried the MGD 64, but I'm not sure I have to in order to imagine the amount of malt or hops that are likely present.
If MGD 64 becomes a success -- and the folks at Miller know a thing or two about success in the light beer category -- it will open a new marketing path for the majors and could bring on calorie cutting projects for other light brands. That just might syphon off some of the attention major brewers have been paying towards the craft segment.