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Friday, May 29, 2015

Churn on the Fringe

Yesterday I discussed the beer products aimed at people who don't like beer, specifically fingering the Bud Light -Ritas (Lima-a-Rita, Apple-ahh-Rita, etc.). I got a bit of push back about how long these products actually last in the marketplace, and it reminded me that most people don't get to see those figures. So here's an update to illustrate just how fast they come and go. My numbers come from IRI/Symphony numbers from a few years back.

Let's start with the biggest-debuting products in the years 2006-2012:
  • 2006: Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Wave Runner
  • 2007: Miller Chill
  • 2008: Bud Light Lime
  • 2009: Bud Light Golden Wheat
  • 2010: Smirnoff Blueberry Lemonade
  • 2011: Shock Top Raspberry Wheat
  • 2012: Bud Light Platinum Lager (#2 was Lime-a-Rita)
As far as I can tell Wave Runner is off the market and Miller Chill and Bud Light Golden Wheat have been killed. I suspect Platinum is not long for the world--and that's probably true for Bud Light Lime as well. To put an even sharper point on it, of the 15 top new releases in 2008, only 7 were still in production by 2011. That slightly understates things because two of the fifteen were variety packs. In other words, 62% of the biggest-selling new products in 2008 had been killed by 2011.

As you can see from the list, these are gimmicky products that taste bad and die early. But whenever a Chill dies, there's a Straw-Ber-Rita to take it's place. They're worth big money ($100 million or more a year for each best-selling brand), but they don't last. Buy your commemorative cans today--they may be museum pieces tomorrow.


  1. These sort of products are a good example of why the "Corona (or any other similar beer) is successful only because of marketing" doesn't hold any water.

    Marketing (and I believe these products had very solid marketing campaigns) won't get you much further than the first bottle, if the product fails to satisfy you for some reason.

  2. Oooh, does this mean Desperados is doomed too? If you could kill that off, Europe would owe you a big debt of gratitude.