Wednesday, July 27, 2011

MGD Lemonade goes sour

Here's a tip when you're developing your next new food or beverage product.

Make sure people like the taste.

I know that may seem obvious, but apparently it wasn't to Miller/Coors when they developed MGD 64 Lemonade. I haven't tried it myself, but upon reading review, after review, after review, it doesn't sound like I or the rest of the country is missing anything.

How bad is MGD 64 Lemonade?

It was only supposed to be on store shelves from Memorial Day through Labor Day, yet yesterday, Miller/Coors announced they were pulling it from the market early, paying distributors for their troubles, and creating a massive amount of negative publicity for the brand, rather than let the product quietly fade out of sight in five and a half weeks as scheduled.

Beer and lemonade isn't the problem. That combination has been around for a long time and it's actually possible to make it taste good. The problem is M/C boxed themselves in with the need to make it 64 calories and the only way to produce the product to that spec was with artificial lemon flavor and sweeteners that taste like... well we all know what they taste like.

And that's the problem with the whole MGD 64 brand, nothing is more important than the 64 calories and that's not the most important benefit in the category. It forces you to make choices that no rational person would make. And oh, yeah, when you're largest competitor comes out with a beer that's only 55 calories, you've lost your entire reason for being.

That's why you should never build a brand (or in this case a sub brand) around a feature or functional benefit. They're too easy to copy. Someone will and before you know it you'll be out of business.


  1. I've had the MGD 64 Lemonade, and while ok, it didn't compare to Summer Shandy. I must be like many consumers, who would rather drink water than have any calories and give up the full taste. Good blog Harv!

  2. Thanks Kevin. I've had Leinie's Shandy. In fact, I helped introduce it to the world in my previous life. It's as good as it gets short of making it yourself. I'll enjoy a Diet Pepsi from time to time, but when it comes to beer, I want all the flavor. I'll control the calories myself (or not).