Molson Coors cuts Eleven "Economy" Brands

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by jesskidden, Jul 31, 2021.

  1. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,278) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    According to a story behind a pay wall in AdAge (some of the AdAge info repeated in a follow-up story in FoodDive), MC is dropping these eleven brands.

    • Milwaukee's Best Premium (not Ice or Light)
    • Mickey's Ice
    • Hamm's Special Light
    • Keystone Ice
    • Keylightful (whatever that is)
    • Icehouse Edge
    • Magnum
    • Miller High Life Light
    • Steel Reserve 211
    • Old English HG 800
    • Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve

    Does Pabst (which has also been dropping or otherwise losing brands over the past few decades after buying most of the Heileman-Stroh portfolio in 1999) need some discount brands to fill up capacity of the former Miller brewery in Irwindale CA and the 3 City breweries? (Do they have the money to buy them?)

    Is Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve, where ever it's sold these days (PNW - all of the west coast?), really an "economy" brand currently? It was one of the handful of Heileman/Stroh brands that Miller (not Pabst) bought in '99 and they even had some HW brands contract-brewed by Full Sail for a time to keep it a (partially) Oregon-brewed brand. MC has been using the Henry Weinhard brand for a number of products, including grape and orange hard soda.

    Coincidentally, two other former Wessinger (Fred and Minott - great and great-great grandsons of Henry Weinhard) linked brands are in the list - Old English* and Steel Reserve 211 - the later from their McKenzie River Corp. era. In the 1990s, McKenzie River Corp. was among the Top Ten US breweries (around the same size as BBC during that decade) with an estimate barrelage of ½ - 1 million, mostly (all?) contract-brewed by Stroh/Heileman.

    * Well, likely the standard Old English 800 probably will remain, only the 8% HG is being dropped.
    #1 jesskidden, Jul 31, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
  2. odannyob

    odannyob Initiate (129) Feb 12, 2014 Colorado

    And "EXTRA GOLD" has also been axed. Good to know that molson/Coors don't give a shit about what folks enjoy & without at least some token feedback; the "EXTRA GOLD" 30 packs were a great fishin' brew and I've enjoyed them since like the 1980's. Well, at least I gotta a few left in the refrigerator...
  3. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,590) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    Haven't seen that one for years though I could literally bathe in the amount of Coors products around here.
  4. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,590) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    They're killing Keystone Ice? Our local economy will take a hit.
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  5. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (4,355) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    Yeah last 5 or so years it has been an economy beer, particularly the 18 pack cans. Weirdly the bottles were selling for semi-premium. Seemed to sell OK but its an old mans drink now.
  6. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (877) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I also heard the CEO say Coors light seltzer is going away so they can concentrate on their top seltzer brands.

    I truly enjoy Micky, Hamms and High Life, just not the styles mentioned above.

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  7. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,859) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    Do they give a reason? Wonder if there's any impact from the rise of seltzer? Possibly the packaging shortage? Old folks dieing and young folks not picking up these brands? seems kind of dramatic to cut so many at once.
  8. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (4,355) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    Its a pity , would be cool if an Oregon brewer could purchase the name and produce a better lager under it.
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  9. Foyle

    Foyle Meyvn (1,045) Sep 29, 2007 North Carolina

    Only one on that list that I buy on rare occasions is Miller High Life Light. 12 packs are still on the shelves of a few local stores. I guess I will pick one up before it is gone forever.
  10. DCH

    DCH Aspirant (225) Jun 12, 2013 New York

    That really sucks to hear about Milwaukee’s Best Premium and Keystone Ice, those were some great go-to cheap brews:confused:
    officerbill, tzieser, Squire and 2 others like this.
  11. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (4,355) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    I kinda liked Hamms Special Light when i was able to get it up here..OK hiking/camping light beer.
  12. Crusader

    Crusader Disciple (337) Feb 4, 2011 Sweden

    They talked about the need to "simplify" their economy portfolio already back in 2013 in the MillerCoors/SABMiller days, and about how MillerCoors had 3 times as many economy brands than their "key competitor" (AB), yet a lower total sales volume and lower average sales by brand in the economy segment (slide 13 and 20). Seems like they've kicked the can down the road a few times since then and are only now getting to it.
    kemoarps, AlcahueteJ, Jaycase and 3 others like this.
  13. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,590) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    Speaking as one who has been around long enough to see things come and go I suggest old man's beer in some form will always be with us. Brands disappear only to be resurrected later like Banquo's ghost under new ownership.
  14. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,157) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Das is a gut one Herr Squire. I just about peed in my Depends.
  15. moodenba

    moodenba Devotee (475) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    Henry's was in the grips of its 5th owner (Blitz, Pabst, Heileman, Miller, MolsonCoors). Coors seems to have co-opted the Private Reserve designation for Herman Joseph (label on MolsonCoors website). Old English came to Blitz from Bohemian Breweries so at least 6th owner in that case. Blitz's 8% (by weight!) Old English 800 (Brewing Co. of Oregon) was the only version sold in Oregon in the '70s. These lower alcohol versions are all pretenders. Blitz Weinhard Beer (called called Blitz) was the brewery's big seller in the northwest, but was discontinued long ago.
    Seanvino, Iamaskier, kemoarps and 4 others like this.
  16. cyclonece09

    cyclonece09 Poo-Bah (2,246) Aug 5, 2008 Wisconsin

    My guess (and this is my guess) is that these are underperforming brands, and with MC cutting brewing capacity (closing Eden and Irwindale breweries) and changing buying habits of the general public, brands had to go to better utilize that capacity and to not have stuff sitting in warehouses that doesn’t move.
  17. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,278) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Yeah, I guess it was around the time of the 2008 US recession when AB, Miller and Coors were complaining that their economy/popular/sub-premium brands were selling too well and taking market share from their "premium" brands - of course, the difference in cost to brew, package and market the economy beers was probably just about the same as their premiums, esp. once the advertising costs of the latter were factored in.

    "Well, yeah ya dumb fucks, if you didn't put all the "popular-priced" beer brewers (Stroh, Heileman, Falstaff, Olympia, Carling-National, Schaefer, Rheingold, for all intends and purposes Pabst*, etc.) out of business, maybe your companies wouldn't be having that problem..."

    *MillerCoors being stuck with the contract with Pabst and probably not making a whole lot of money on it other than the efficiency of helping keep their breweries nearer to capacity.

    Well, technically you left off Stroh, when, from '96-'99, they owned Heileman...:wink: (I often thought it was probably among the brands with the most owners during its years of existence, considering that it dates only from the mid-1970s).
    kemoarps, pudgym29, tzieser and 6 others like this.
  18. moodenba

    moodenba Devotee (475) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    Oops. I forgot Stroh's. I don't remember tasting their Stroh version of Henry's. When I visited the west during those years, my focus was on the craft beer scene.
  19. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,195) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    Another year, another interesting read along these exact, same lines from AdAGE.

    Not to call you out @jesskidden, but I call bullshit on the principle of jettisoning nearly a dozen brands and line extensions.

    A same “warning light” for such brand has been issued over the past twenty odd years, and this just doesn’t pass the smell test.

    For starters, Hamm’s Special Light had a consumer preference-driven campaign to BRING IT BACK in recent years, and the company did go that far, at least.

    And granted that these are bottom-feeder brands, but this never not stopped Molson, Coors, or any other brewery in the past several hundred years from selling the name and the rights to the brand(s), either at a premium or a “fire sale” price.

    I fully expect that several of these brands will be saved owing to an outcry of consumer preference, and for those that are not saved? Good homes with new owners. It has happened before and will happen again.

    ALSO: Special Reserve is a GREAT Pilsner/styled lager beer in the more storied (and nuanced) U.S. / North American tradition. It is an outright, crying shame that the Weinhards line has fallen so low.

    But the kids today want their frikkin’ seltzer waters and hazies. What can ya do? :thinking_face:
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  20. YamBag

    YamBag Initiate (183) Feb 2, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Not Beast, it was my drink of choice in HS. We use to get 12 packs for 3.99 in Northern Virginia back in the late 80s. May need to grab some before it's gone
    miwestcoaster likes this.
  21. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,091) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I do. Meh. :confused:
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  22. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,157) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I remember Stroh moving into the Schlitz brewery in Winston-Salem That shit was fire-brewed! I saw the biggest Norway rat of my life while working at the Schlitz Brewery for Kelly Brick Co. out of maybe 1968. It was the only union I was a member of. We were paid well. It was a damned big rat, kinda scary.......
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  23. moodenba

    moodenba Devotee (475) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    Earlier, when Stroh's bought Schaefer, they added copper kettles for fire brewing to the stainless steel brewhouse there. Pride goes before the fall. . . .
    Bitterbill and rgordon like this.
  24. cryptichead

    cryptichead Poo-Bah (1,674) Jul 3, 2014 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Sad to hear about Milwaukee's Best. It was my brand of choice through grad school at $1 a 22oz can at a Rite Aid across the street. It will be missed. RIP.
  25. MacMalt

    MacMalt Poo-Bah (4,962) Jan 28, 2015 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    So long as Mickey's Mean Green isn't axed. I think I'd cry given how much of it I drank in my misspent youth.
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  26. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,852) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    Ahh...Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve. I remember posting it a few times here, sorry, but I drank the first bottling when I lived in California. It didn't bear much resemblance to the last one I drank. Over a decade ago, I believe.
    rgordon likes this.
  27. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,157) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    These brands keep names and don't resemble their old selves. Same with wine, clothes and likely everything else to boot. Branding is powerful but it also dumbs us down.. When the name becomes more powerful than the product please look elsewhere. Portuguese wines are great for instance.
  28. jkrich

    jkrich Meyvn (1,326) Nov 1, 2001 Florida

    I remember drinking Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve in Louisville, KY in the mid-1990s. I thought it was very good, and then it disappeared from the shelves never to return. I don't think of this beer as an economy beer; however, at the time I enjoyed it, I was a beer novice.
    ChicagoJ and Bitterbill like this.
  29. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,590) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    A number of us of a certain age have a similar story.
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  30. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,157) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    As semi-poor college students we bought Ballantine Beer at Standard Drug for $.79 a six pack we bought shopping carts full and didn't care how stupid we really looked. It wasn't so bad really.
    TCgenny, DrOfGolf, Squire and 2 others like this.
  31. eagles22

    eagles22 Devotee (434) Sep 7, 2008 Pennsylvania

    RIP Hamm's special light ..absolutely one of the best light beers sad to see it go
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  32. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,278) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Hey, hey - no offense taken. :grin: I'm just the messenger - well, not even, I'm fourth in line MC CEO Hattersley > AdAge > FoodDive. I ain't saying it will happen, just that these jokers did.
    Yup, it's happened before (with Hamm's brand itself under Miller ownership) but most of the announced beers are brand-extensions, so MC will continue to brew and market the other beers using the brand names for most of them.

    The "Henry Weinhard" situation is curious - apparently they use the 'dba' of "Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Co." for their line of Henry's Hard Sodas and Hard Sparkling Waters - sans "Weinhard" in the brand name. So it would be relatively easy to license or sell Henry Weinhard Private Reserve and not mess with those other products too much.

    Magnum and Steel Reserve are the other two brands - malt liquor is apparently a dying segment and they already own two out the three the best known with Old English 800 & Mickey's, leaving Pabst with Colt 45. I think it's probable that both Magnum and SR could go on the auction block... that's what happened with Meister Brau and ... gee, whatever happened to that brand after the new owner bought it? :grin:
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  33. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Devotee (416) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    In the liquor store I used to moonlight at, we sure sold a bunch of Steel Reserve 211. And Keystone Ice. Those are the only surprises for me in that list. We didn’t even carry anything else on it except Magnum which was a MUCH slower seller than the Steel Reserve in the street bum segment of the market. (We had Hamm’s of course, not the Super Light extension)
    kemoarps, ChicagoJ and Bitterbill like this.
  34. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,157) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I can tell you that I firmly believe that Miller knows that Hamm's erodes sales of some of their core brands. 24 packs here have disappeared. 6-packs of pints are in a few spots. I don't hate Miller but Hamm's is way better to my palate. And lots of people like a palatable beer at a budget price. I really liked Rheingold as well, oh well. Reminds me of a song. Cheers all!
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  35. DarkDragon999

    DarkDragon999 Aspirant (252) Feb 13, 2013 Rhode Island

    Keylightful came out last year and now its gone. I think it was a competitor to Naturdays which has lasted several seasons now.
    rodbeermunch and Chaz like this.
  36. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,195) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    I had forgotten about the Weinhards FMBs!

    Hearty little bastards, tougher to eradicate than crabgrass, and have been around for twenty years! Er, no. I’m thinking of the extension of the ZIMA line, back then. The “Henry’s” are five years old and a boosted version of their long running soda pop. Still, brand dilution more than line extension if you ask me.

    Among the other typos, this one made me laugh out loud:
    Anyone knows where I can score a 40 of the HIGHER gravity Olde English*, hit me up.

    I honestly haven’t seen fresh Magnum around in a dozen years, but am surprised to learn of the Topo Chico hard seltzer. So for that (at least) I have to thank you for the share. :sunglasses:

    *Aside from that, OE has a surprising heritage, and some excellent collectibles, so I expect it may be saved.
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  37. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,278) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, that's a weird deal, since the brand's owned by Coca-Cola. Supposedly basically the same arrangement Molson Coors has with Yuengling in Texas (and, eventually, the rest of the western US). I don't know, I guess I'm too old and ornery for seltzers - and why would I drink a product named after that weird ass Italian Mickey Mouse wannabe that used to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show?
    Yeah, originally a Minnesota product, from Peoples Brewing Co. of Duluth and labeled "Ruff's Olde English Stout" (the "stout = strong beer" similar to the original name of MN's other (in)famous malt liquor, Gluek Stout > Stite. "Ruff" apparently referred to the name of the brew master (there was a family of Ruff's in the industry) not to the flavor profile.

    My favorite trivia - C. Schmidt's & Sons sued then-owner Pabst over the the Tiger logo. But, c'mon, who wouldn't associate a beer named Old English with tigers? :rolling_eyes: I mean, they're native to India which was a British colony so...[​IMG]
    OE was brewed on the east coast by P. Ballantine & Sons and then by Ortlieb also in Philly. After Pabst bought Blitz-Weinhard, they took over the brewing of it and Ortlieb came out with what was rumored to be the same product, only label Coqui 900 Malt Liquor (after the sound Puerto Rican bullfrogs made IIRC - that was the era when every malt liquor had to have an animal mascot, I guess.) And 100 more that OE 800!
    Joe O. with his portfolio, circa 1978.
    Oh, wait - wrong Topo. It's Topo Chico (after the Marx Brother I guess :smiley:).
    #37 jesskidden, Aug 1, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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  38. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,157) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Topo Gigio was a mouse. The character made Ed Sullivan look silly, which he needed.
    steveh likes this.
  39. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,278) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Well, yeah ... but so was the aforementioned "Mouse, Mickey" - wasn't he? :open_mouth:
    (M.M. was born the same month & year - Nov. '28 - as my ol' man, coincidentally. No relation, otherwise, tho'.)
    I suppose that's a matter of opinion based on one's definition of "Silly". :wink:
    TG did make him look more human - maybe not as human as Topo Gigio himself but more than Ed's normal "really big show" schtick.:smiley:

    "And now before we bring out England's Rolling Stones for the youngsters...plate spinners!"
    #39 jesskidden, Aug 1, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
  40. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,091) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois