Miller Beer’s off-trade sales are worth £17 million, but fell by 12% in the year to Oct 4. Miller Genuine Draft is worth £21 million and rose by 4%.
Scottish & Newcastle UK said it had reached agreement with Miller Brands UK to end the contract to brew, market and distribute Miller Beer in the UK with effect from December 2008. The standard lager will be withdrawn from sale in the UK market from early 2009.
Mark Gerken, off-trade sales managing director at S&N UK, said: “We are committed to supplying our customers with brands that meet today’s consumer needs. The decision to withdraw Miller Beer from sale in the UK will allow us to fulfil this objective by drawing upon the combined S&N/Heineken range to create new and greater sales opportunities for our customers in 2009.”
Nick Miller, managing director of Miller Brands UK, added: “In a highly dynamic and competitive UK beer market, Miller Brands will continue to focus its efforts on premium brand building and we look forward to sharing our exciting and extensive plans for Miller Genuine Draft with our customers in the near future.”
The decision to axe the standard version of the brand is reminiscent of Heineken’s decision to drop its Cold Filtered variant in order to concentrate on its premium alternative.