Miller Brewing Slips Industry a Mickey

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Miller Brewing Slips Industry a Mickey

MILWAUKEE -- Miller Brewing Co. is rolling out a caffeinated malt beverage under its Mickey's brand to compete with its rival Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.'s similar beverage, Tilt. Tilt is a malt beverage featuring an assorted blend of caffeine, guarana and ginseng that A-B rolled out last year.

Milwaukee-based brewer Miller will launch Mickey's Stinger initially in Arizona, California and Nevada. The beverage features an infusion of caffeine, guarana and taurine. The new beverage contains 7 percent alcohol by volume and will be distributed in 16-ounce single-serve cans and six-packs of 16-ounce cans.

Stinger is the first extension of the Mickey's brand franchise in years, Miller said. The brand, traditionally known for its distinctive taste, unique bottle and iconic hornet logo, has been a staple of the malt-liquor category for decades.

The Mickey's franchise, which includes Mickey's Malt Liquor, Mickey's Ice and now Mickey's Stinger, is brewed and distributed by Miller Brewing Co.

Meanwhile, following Anheuser-Busch’s acquisition of Rolling Rock last week, a state lawmaker from Westmoreland County, Pa., has come up with one way to fight the announced decision to stop production of Rolling Rock beer in Latrobe, Pa.: a boycott.

According to a report in Pennsylvania’s Patriot-News, Democratic Rep. Joseph Petrarca, whose district includes the city of Latrobe, introduced a resolution calling on Pennsylvanians to boycott all Anheuser-Busch products for as long as that mega brewer continues with its plan to close the storied Rolling Rock Brewery.

After acquiring the Rolling Rock brand and recipes for $82 million, Anheuser-Busch said it would begin producing the Pennsylvania-born label in August at a plant in Newark, N.J. The 250 employees at the Latrobe brewery stand to lose their jobs unless a buyer for the plant there can be found.

All of which has sparked outrage in Latrobe.

"Anheuser-Busch said it bought the Rolling Rock brand because it is trying to provide more variety and choice to its customers," Petrarca said. "This move doesn't accomplish that. What it does is take away the distinctiveness of the Rolling Rock name, strips a community of its pride and, more importantly, a source of livelihood for many families."

Petrarca urged all Pennsylvania beer drinkers to boycott Budweiser, Bud Light and other Anheuser-Busch products until the company decides to buy the Latrobe plant and keep Rolling Rock production there.