Molson Coors Just Axed 11 Cheap Beers That You Probably Regret Drinking

The beverage company is veering toward hard seltzers and "premiumization" (sorry, Keystone Ice)

A crumpled aluminum can of Keystone beer near an ice fishing spot in Northern Minnesota in winter. Keystone is an alcoholic beverage made by the Molson Coors Brewing Company.
Certain variations of Keystone, Miller High Life and Milwaukee's Best are being discontinued.
Tony Webster / Flickr Creative Commons

Pour one out for the terrible cheap beer you drank in college, because 11 of those brands will soon be gone.

On a recent earnings call, Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley announced nearly a dozen “economy” beer brands will be axed from its lineup. “This will improve supply chain flexibility for our more profitable priority brands, enhance our innovation efforts, enable us to better focus resources and ensure dependable and on-time shipments to our distributors,” he said during the call. “We’re going to invest bigger behind our fast growing global hard seltzer portfolio and we are going to permanently streamline a smaller portfolio of legacy brands.”

Those economy brands on the chopping block? According to Ad Age, these include Milwaukee’s Best Premium (not its ice and light varieties), Mickey’s Fine Malt Liquor Ice (not the core brand), Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve, Keystone Ice, Hamm’s Special Light, Keylightful (a fruity line extension of Keystone Light — who knew?), Icehouse Edge, Magnum, Miller High Life Light, Steel Reserve 211 and Olde English HG 8000.

So again, names you recognize, but perhaps not in the form you actually drank them; if someone can explain the mere concept of Miller High Life Light to me, I’m all ears. And outside of nostalgia, not a lot of people seem to be that sad to let these brands die. Witness the /beer subreddit: “Woah how will college kids survive without Keystone Ice?” asked one poster, which received the expected reply of “Seriously. A 24 ounce can for $1 when I was in school. We would fill a backpack of them up. Terrible beer though.”

With domestic beer sales in steady decline, it’s not a surprise that Molson Coors would put more effort behind premium products, non-alcoholic drinks (including coffee and CBD concoctions) and hard seltzers (Vizzy and Topo Chico helped “doubled [their] share of the U.S. hard seltzer segment in the second quarter,” as Hattersley noted).

As well, the company noted strong gains by legacy brands such as Coors Light and Miller Light. So your cheap beer options remain strong, even if they don’t include Keystone Ice.


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