Vizzy hard seltzer hit shelves in the US in April while Coors Seltzer will launch in the fall.
“Obviously it’s not the ideal time to launch new products in the marketplace,” said Gavin Hattersley, CEO, Molson Coors. “And as a result of coronavirus, we’ve made some adjustments to our original innovation plan. We’ve delayed some innovations, and we are using those savings to protect our cash and liquidity positions.
"But as far as the seltzer market is concerned, we’ve got a very clear strategy in hard seltzers. And we think we’re being smart in how we execute our first two launches.
“We are first focusing on Vizzy as the big bet; and then we’re rolling into Coors seltzer in the fall. This is a huge segment, and it’s got plenty of room for multiple brands and solutions.”
Vizzy: ‘We’re very pleased with the early reads’
Vizzy (5% ABV) launched in April with four flavors: pineapple mango; black cherry lime; blueberry pomegranate and strawberry kiwi. It's gluten free and contains 100 calories and 1g sugar. It highlights its point of difference as being the first hard seltzer made with the superfruit acerola cherry, which is high in the antioxidant vitamin C.
“We are in the midst of rolling out a pretty robust campaign, which will include national TV in the right spots, digital and social, retail tools,” said Hattersley. “It’s our biggest play yet in the hard seltzer market, and while it’s only a few weeks into the launch, we are actually very pleased with the early reads.”
A game of big brands
Molson Coors notes that consumers are gravitating back towards the big brands that they know and trust. That’s why it believes its new seltzer under the Coors brand can ride the wave of a resurgence of the big brands during the pandemic.
“We believe that, at this time in particular, people are turning to known and trusted brands,” said Hattersley. “And there’s a big opportunity for popular beer brands to enter the [seltzer] space.”
The Coors seltzer launch is now scheduled for the fall, back from the initial launch date of July. It will come in four flavors: black cherry, lemon lime, mango and grapefruit.
“We believe we’ve got the best proposition with Coors for a number of reasons,” said Hattersley. “We’ve tested the clear seltzer proposition head-to-head with other beer branded seltzers, and Coors won across the board on multiple levels, whether it was purchase intent, whether it was differentiation, distinctiveness and so on. Its history of Rocky Mountain freshness and water credentials are a perfect fit for hard seltzers.
"And we’ve got a very clear point of difference, which is also very important. It’s the first hard seltzer with a social mission. And finally, we’ve got a great tasting product.”