MillerCoors tests 'Home Draft' kit

MillerCoors has begun testing a "Home Draft" kit it claims will keep draft beer fresh in your refrigerator for a month.

The $20, 1½-gallon boxes of Miller Lite and Coors Light fit upright in a recyclable container. The cost is about 15% higher than an 18-pack of the same beer, according to the company.

MillerCoors, a U.S. joint venture of SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing Co., is seeing Miller Lite, one of its major brands, in a prolonged sales slump. Its Coors Light, however, is gaining sales.

The product, which is recyclable, is aimed at the 30% of beer drinkers who say they prefer draft beer to the bottled or canned variety, said Andy England, chief marketing officer at MillerCoors. "We're really trying to meet that occasion when you just got back from work and want to reward yourself," rather than "the party occasion," he said.

Home Draft is similar to DraughtKeg, the 5-liter Heineken product that has been sold in the U.S. since 2005. However, the DraughtKeg is designed to be used at one time.

MillerCoors is sensitive to speculation on why it launched the new product. According to a note I received from Julian Green, the company's director of media relations, " ... Home Draft is not a response to Miller Lite softness. This innovative product was a result of nearly three years of planning and development by the innovation team at the former Coors Brewing Company. We only decided after the merger to roll-out this innovation for both Coors Light and Miller Lite."

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