Miller to sell beer in plastic bottles in 6 markets Brewing

October 31, 1998|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

MILWAUKEE -- Miller Brewing Co., the nation's second-largest brewer, said yesterday that it will test some of its beers in plastic bottles in six markets beginning next month.

Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft and Icehouse will be available in the plastic bottles next week in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Norfolk, Va. Later in the month, Miller, a division of Philip Morris Cos., will add the plastic bottles to the Miami, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio markets. It's the first time a U.S. brewer has sold beer in plastic bottles.

Miller is trying to boost its domestic sales, which fell 4.2 percent to 11 million barrels in the third quarter and 1.8 percent in the first nine months of the year. No.1 Anheuser-Busch Cos., which has begun raising prices in some markets, and Adolph Coors Co., the No. 3 brewer, have reported sales gains for the quarter and nine months. Anheuser-Busch has a 48.2 percent share of the U.S. beer market. Miller is No. 2 with a 21.9 percent share, according to New York-based consulting firm Beverage Marketing Corp.

The plastic bottle was developed with Continental PET Technologies, a unit of Owens-Illinois Inc. Miller Lite and Icehouse will be sold in brown plastic bottles, while Miller Genuine Draft will be sold in a clear plastic bottle. The plastic bottles will be available in 20-ounce and 1-liter sizes.

Pub Date: 10/31/98

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