Yum or Yuck? MillerCoors Unveils a Bourbon-Flavored Beer

Hoping to win over the younger set, MillerCoors has introduced a bourbon inspired lager.

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By Laura Entis

Miller Fortune

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MillerCoors, the joint venture behind Miller High Life, Coors, Crispin Hard Cider and Blue Moon, among other beer brands, is looking to get into the spirits business.

Kind of.

The company is debuting a new bourbon-flavored lager called Miller Fortune. The beer -- which has a malty, complex taste and, at 6.9 percent, a relatively high alcohol content -- is meant to be served in a rocks glass, Bloomberg reported. While specifying the type of glass may seem like a gimmick, a similar marketing scheme has worked for MillerCoors in the past: Blue Moon's distinctive orange slice helped the beer become one of the company's most popular brands, Bloomberg notes.

The new product comes at a time when young people are increasingly ditching beer for harder alcohol. From 2000 to 2011, the spirits industry went from taking up 29 percent of the beverage alcohol market to 34 percent, stealing 5 percent of the market share from breweries in the process, according to a report by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Related: Timberlake, Diddy Throw Down in Artisanal Tequila Battle

And as extensive draft selections become an expectation rather than a novelty, restaurants are looking for new and innovative ways to package the drink, offering customers beer cocktails and flavored drafts in the place of traditional pints.

MillerCoors is clearly taking note. Its bourbon-flavored lager is targeted at men between the ages of 21 to 27, and is specifically designed not to look like a beer bottle. According to Bloomberg, the brand's marketers ditched the typical rounded bottle shape for a more angular design, which evokes a Smirnoff vodka bottle.

"They've got to try," Brian Yarbrough, an analyst with Edward Jones & Co. in St. Louis, told the outlet. "If they just sit back and do nothing, they're going to continue to lose share, so they are trying to stem the bleeding."

Related: 3 Things Beer Aficionados Can Look Forward to in 2014

Laura Entis
Laura Entis is a reporter for Fortune.com's Venture section.

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