Miller Brewing Co. will test-market a fruit-flavored malt beverage imported from South Africa, despite dropping other flavored malt drinks following a disappointing foray in that segment.
Miller will test a product called Brutal Fruit in Seattle, Tampa and Richmond, Va., beginning March 14.
Miller says the product is fruit juice with 5% alcohol, much like beer. It comes in four flavors – strawberry, mango, kiwi and raisin-like litchi.
The drink was launched in 2002 in South Africa by SABMiller Plc, Miller’s corporate parent. Brutal Fruit has enjoyed strong sales in South Africa, where the company’s fruit-flavored alcohol sales grew by 50% in 2004, according to SABMiller’s most recent annual report.
Brutal Fruit and other flavored malt beverages are aimed at what could be called the “sweet tooth generation” – consumers in their 20s who grew up drinking juice and soda and aren’t wild about the taste of beer. Miller expects Brutal Fruit’s main consumers to be women between 24 and 35, Bussen said.
Miller’s previous entry into the flavored malt beverage market brought dismal results. Miller dropped Stolichnaya Citrona, Sauza Diablo and Jack Daniel’s Original Hard Cola in 2004, and it recently began phasing out production of Skyy Blue.