When's the last time you drank a Miller High Life… Light? How about a Milwaukee's Best… Premium? Or a Keystone… Ice? Molson Coors has announced plans to axe 11 of its economy brands. The list contains some seemingly familiar names but many of the disappearing products are offshoots of more popular brands that won't be going anywhere.
Here are the 11 brands set to be discontinued, confirmed to us by Molson Coors. Though Keystone Light will remain, Keystone Ice and Keylightful will both be disappearing. Interestingly enough, the two spinoffs came from vastly different eras: The former was created during the "ice beer" craze of the '90s, while Keylightful was launched just last year to attempt to keep up with Natural Light's Naturdays. Speaking of ice beers, Icehouse will survive, but the 8-percent ABV Icehouse Edge is going away. And Mickey's Ice is also disappearing while the rest of Mickey's lineup will stay around.
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Milwaukee's Best Premium is being retired but its Light and Ice versions will still be brewed. Elsewhere, a couple of light beers are being dropped: Miller High Life Light and Hamm's Special Light are both being retired. The original Steel Reserve 211 is ceasing production, though its fruity spinoffs appear to be surviving. And sticking with malt liquor brands, the higher ABV spinoff Olde English HG 800 will be gone, as will the Magnum brand. Finally, Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve is also going to be retired.
Though most of these specific brands weren't mentioned during Molson Coors most recent earnings call, CEO Gavin Hattersley did offer a broader explanation. "After an extensive analysis of our business, we are meaningfully streamlining and premiumizing our U.S. portfolio," he stated (though we can't help but note the irony that Milwaukee's Best "Premium" is one of the brands being dropped). "This will improve supply chain flexibility for our more profitable priority brands, enhance our innovation efforts, enable us to better focus resources and ensure dependable and on-time shipments to our distributors."
And also mentioned that at least some of these brands still had cult followings in certain areas. "Distributors who sell brands like Magnum and Mickey's are going to feel it when they are discontinued," he added. "So our local sales teams are partnering with distributors and retailers on a market-by-market basis on exit plans and to identify swaps that make sense."
But can you ever really replace Icehouse Edge?