Craft brews propel MillerCoors

MillerCoors LLC reported a 74-percent increase in quarterly profits, sparked by continued growth in its Coors Light and Tenth and Blake Beer Co. brands.

SABMiller plc of London and Molson Coors Brewing Co. of Denver, co-owners of Chicago-based MillerCoors, said the company’s third quarter net income increased to $306.9 million from $176.4 million in the same period a year ago.

The company’s quarterly net sales increased 1.5 percent to $2 billion.

Sales of 12-ounce and 16-ounce Miller Lite punch-top cans increased in the low single digits, marking the first time that the brand’s sales have grown since the formation of MillerCoors in 2008.

Tenth and Blake, which is based in Milwaukee, grew the MillerCoors craft and import portfolio by double digits in the quarter and outperformed the overall craft segment, driven primarily by Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy and Blue Moon Belgian White.

“Strong investment, clear positioning and packaging innovation for Coors Light have helped drive nearly eight consecutive years of growth for our largest brand,” said MillerCoors chief executive officer Tom Long. “Tenth and Blake demonstrated the power of its portfolio, marked by the continued growth of Blue Moon Belgian White and Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. We have a pipeline of innovation to drive our largest brands, and we’re launching exciting above-premium products nationally in early 2013.”

The growth of Tenth and Blake was chronicled in a recent cover story in BizTimes Milwaukee.

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