Molson Coors boosts hard seltzer production capacity by 400%, targeting increased share of US market

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

The superfruit acerola provides a point of difference for Vizzy; while Molson Coors believes its hard seltzer portfolio is 'arguably the deepest, most diversified' in the market. Pic: getty/paralaxis
The superfruit acerola provides a point of difference for Vizzy; while Molson Coors believes its hard seltzer portfolio is 'arguably the deepest, most diversified' in the market. Pic: getty/paralaxis

Related tags: hard seltzer, Molson coors, Us

Molson Coors is ramping up its hard seltzer strategy: increasing production capacity by 400%, launching new innovations Proof Point and Topo Chico, and aiming for a double-digit share of the US hard seltzer category next year.

Its hard seltzer portfolio already includes Vizzy Hard Seltzer, Coors Seltzer and Henry’s Hard Sparkling Water; with Proof Point and Coca-Cola’s Topo Chico joining next year.  

CEO Gavin Hattersley says the company’s expanding portfolio – ‘arguably the deepest, most diversified portfolio of hard seltzers in the industry’ – will help it conquer the sizzling seltzer sector.

Molson Coors’ main moves in the hard seltzer category recently include:

  • Launch of Vizzy Hard Seltzer and Coors Hard Seltzer in 2020
  • Expanding hard seltzer production capacity by over 400% by the end of 2020
  • Entering into an exclusive agreement with The Coca-Cola Company to manufacture, market and distribute Topo Chico Hard Seltzer​ in the US: launching in the first half of 2021.
  • New spirits-based seltzer called Proof Point launching next year
  • Distribution deal with Bodega Bay hard seltzer in the UK and Ireland, making the company ‘an early mover’ among the European market.

USP for each hard seltzer

And it’s the breadth of these moves, across a number of different innovations in the category, that Hattersley believes will set the company up for seltzer success. Most importantly, it's the 'depth and differentiation' of the portfolio that he says is important.

Vizzy - with its Acerola Cherry high antioxidants from vitamin C – hopes to tap into the better-for-you space in the market.

Topo chico

Coors Seltzer, meanwhile, has been building on the brand equity of its parent beer and MolsonCoors believes it can become the number one beer brand in the segment though the strength of its name and a social mission around restoring America’s waterways.

Similarly, Coca-Cola's Topo Chico Hard Seltzer wants to hop on the ‘massive following’ the sparkling mineral brand has in some areas of the US, with the power of the soft drink giant behind it.

And Proof Points – also launching will also launch next year – will differentiate itself with premium ingredients and premium positioning to lead in spirits-based seltzers.

Essentially, Molson Coors champions the portfolio as a “highly differentiated, very powerful and very attractive seltzer portfolio for consumers.”

Early metrics?

But is this all talk? Molson Coors points to some hard stats: its hard seltzer portfolio has doubled the share of the US hard seltzer market so far in 2020. And Hattersley points to early metrics for Vizzy and Coors Seltzer as signs of success for the seltzer strategy thus far. 

“Vizzy has risen to number eight on the Nielsen top 10 growth brands chart in 2020, selling over 2.5 million cases since its April launch. And it is seeing the highest repeat purchase rate amongst all seltzers made by the major beer suppliers,”​ he said.

Coor Seltzer, which launched at the end of August, sold more than 500,000 cases in the first month. Eying up the competition in the space – notably with AB InBev’s Bud Light Seltzer​ and Constellation Brands’ Corona Hard Seltzer​ – Hattersley is bullish about Coors chance to dominate the market.  

“We are incredibly excited by the early results of Coors Seltzer, which has matched Vizzy in its first months on shelves. In some key retailers, the Coors Seltzer variety pack is outselling the Bud Light Seltzer variety pack.”

Molson Coors' Hard Seltzer champions

Vizzy ​is a 5% ABV hard seltzer made with antioxidant vitamin C from acerola superfruit, which launched in the US in April. Its flavors are pineapple mango, black cherry lime, blueberry pomegranate and strawberry kiwi.

Coors Seltzer​ (4.5% ABV) launched at the end of August. It comes in four flavors: black cherry, lemon lime, mango and grapefruit.

Topo Chico Hard Seltzer​ (4.7% ABV) uses purified sparkling water, a gluten-free alcohol base and natural flavors, with minerals added for taste. In the US, the Coca-Cola brand will launch in four flavors in slim cans: Tangy Lemon Lime, Exotic Pineapple, Strawberry Guava and Tropical Mango: available in a four flavor, 12-pack Variety Pack.

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