MillerCoors sees an opportunity among gluten-free products

MillerCoors sees an opportunity among gluten-free products

Gluten-free beer brands have the ability to attract "lost drinkers" back to the beer category in the US, according to MillerCoors.

During an investors presentation last week, David Kroll, the brewer's marketing VP, flagged that gluten-free is an "exploding" food segment that now represents 4% of total grocery sales in the US. Around 10% of alcohol consumers are now choosing gluten-free products, he added.

"Scaling gluten-free beer has the potential to bring lost drinkers back to beer," Kroll told analysts. Aside from allergies, around two thirds of the segment's consumers believe the products are healthier, while 27% choose the products to help with weight loss, according to figures presented by MillerCoors.

The company, a JV between SABMiller and Molson Coors, launched a 4.7% abv gluten-free beer – Coors Peak Copper Lager - in the US Pacific north-west in February. Anheuser-Busch InBev has been producing its own gluten-free beer, Redbridge, since 2006.

Last year, the US’ Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau issued a revised policy on gluten labelling for alcohol producers.

Earlier in the presentation, Kroll highlighted that beer is still losing overall throat to wine and spirits among US Millennials. However, MillerCoors has seen its flavoured malt beverage brands (FMBs) attract younger LDA drinkers and Hispanics.

In particular, Kroll highlighted that the Redd's brand is "pulling share from wine and spirits", while he said that Redd's Green Apple Ale has an opportunity to "win" with Hispanic drinkers.

In its last set of full-year results, MillerCoors reported flat full-year sales, but a 4.4% rise in net profits, helped by higher pricing and cost savings.