Low-carb guzzles beer sales

Low-carb guzzles beer sales – Brief Article

Michelle L. Kirsche

Weighing in at 2.6 grams of carbs and 95 calories, Atkins-friendly Michelob Ultra is boosting front-end sales along with other low-carb offerings.

Ultra more than tripled initial sales projections following its fall 2002 debut. In the drug store channel, it hit the $10 million mark in its first full year on the shelf, according to Information Resources Inc. figures for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 5. In all, the entire beer category is worth about $1 billion.

Not all introductions have been as successful. Anheuser-Busch’s low-alcohol beer introduced in the 1980s generated disappointing sales. But the red-hot, low-carb beer market shows no signs of cooling.

Beginning this month, Coors will launch Aspen Edge with a 10-state rollout and nation wide expansion by year’s end. Also this month, Miller Brewing Co. and Skyy Spirits will launch Skyy Sport, a low-carb, malt-flavored beverage. And launched last fall, Rock Green Light shipped its millionth case less than three months after introduction.

While industry experts forecast more low-carb brews to follow, there is still plenty of room for healthy competition. A survey Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted found that 24 million adults are on a low-carb diet, and 20 percent more will be within the next two years. That could translate to extra beer money for chain drug stores.

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