Supervalus Buck Range Light beer

Supervalu's Buck Range Light beer

Private label specialist Supervalu is taking on brewing heavyweights Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors by launching a cheaper alternative to the likes of Bud Light and Coors Light.

Supervalu said today (8 February) that its new Buck Range Light beers will shortly be available in most states across the US.

Pitched as a premium lager "that won't break the bank", the move is a clear challenge to branded players at a time when US beer sales are in decline and money remains tight for many consumers.

"Supervalu's goal in creating a new private brand beer is to provide customers a fair, low price option with the same great taste as leading national brands,” said Supervalu's beer director, Trent McKinster. A 12-pack of Buck Range Light will cost around US$5.99. Packs of Bud Light and Coors Light are often found for close to double that and rarely less than $10.

There are signs that the US economic downturn has inspired more retailers to consider selling private label beer. Last year, the third largest beer retailer in the US, 7-Eleven, launched its Game Day premium lager with a suggested retail price of between $6.99 and $8.99 for a 12-pack.

Both Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors, the joint-venture between Molson Coors and SABMiller, raised their beer prices last autumn in order to protect profit margins in a tough market.

Beer sales in the US are expected to show a volume decline of around 3% in 2010, although several analysts believe beer will regain a little momentum in 2011. Supervalu supplies 4,270 retail stores across the US.