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Miller pioneers Fridge Packs for beer

Miller Lite and Miller Genuine Draft are the first two beer brands now in the marketplace in the refrigerator-friendly 12-packs called the Fridge Pack (see "Coke canner rolls out ‘fridge-friendly’ pack" in a previous issue of Packaging World).
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The two brands will be available nationally this month in the 6x2 pack configuration that allows easy dispensing from refrigerator shelves.

Supplied by Graphic Packaging the new packs are made of 24-pt Aquacoat wet-strength paperboard that’s typically printed offset in five colors. Molly Reilly communications manager for Miller Brewing Co. Milwaukee WI declined to talk about the equipment used to produce the packs.

Reilly says that Miller’s Albany GA and Fort Worth TX breweries have already been converted to produce the new packs. Miller’s remaining breweries will also be converted to produce the new 12-pack package. Reilly declined to comment on how long the traditional 12 pack will continue to be produced “but we’re considering keeping it in those markets where there’s demand for it.” She also declined to reveal the brewer’s capital investment in equipment to produce the new package.

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“Our focus is to bring great beer to our consumers in a package they find more convenient” she states. “As the first brewer with this package we have a competitive advantage.” Reilly reports the package was market tested in the Southeast last summer. There’s a major advantage she says in getting the new package out ahead of the summer selling season. “Summer is the big beer season so the retailers’ shelf sets are done early. We wanted our package out there before then.”

The paperboard employed is about 30% heavier than that used on the Coca-Cola Fridge Packs. “What makes it different is that it has the traditional ‘racetrack’ handle common for beer” says Graham Hand director of marketing for beverages at Graphic Packaging. “The soft drink companies use the die-cut slot for gripping by consumers. But Miller wanted the ‘racetrack’ handle since beer consumers are more comfortable with it.”

Along with the two brands available nationally Miller will also use the Fridge Pack for Icehouse for Southeast markets and for Miller Genuine Draft Light for Midwestern consumers.

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