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CEO DATELINE – Super Bowl ad threatens to derail Beer Institute campaign

June 18, 2019
By Walt Williams

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A new Beer Institute campaign aimed at lifting the flagging beer industry will move forward without the involvement of MillerCoors, which remains miffed about a competitor’s Super Bowl ad alleging Coors Light contains corn syrup, AdAge recently reported.

The Beer Institute recently announced it would launch an advertising campaign this summer to boost beer sales among U.S. consumers. Beer sales are largely flat as consumers increasingly turn to wine and spirits as their alcoholic beverages of choice., according to the publication. The National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Brewers Association—which represents craft brewers—also are participating in the campaign.

One of the companies funding the campaign is Bud Light owner Anheuser-Busch InBev, which launched an ad campaign during this year’s Super Bowl claiming Coors Light and other competitors’ beers contained corn syrup.

MillerCoors didn’t take kindly to the allegation and sued Anheuser-Busch for false advertising. The company is also declining to take part in the Beer Institute campaign, citing Anheuser-Busch’s involvement. As a result, a third beer producer—Heineken USA—is declining to participate until all major players are on-board, according to the publication.

“We can’t re-engage on the campaign until Anheuser-Busch stops their category denigration campaign," MillerCoors spokesman Adam Collins told Ad Age.

An Anheuser-Busch spokesman declined to comment on the impasse. For its part, MillerCoors says it uses corn syrup during the fermentation process but none of the substance ends up in the final product.