Best known for brands such as Miller Lite and Coors Lite, Molson Coors has set out its strategy to move beyond beer in attractive, growing categories.
Furthermore, the company has announced plans to follow the highly-anticipated launch of Coca-Cola’s Topo Chico Hard Seltzer with Topo Chico Ranch Water, as well as continuing to expand its portfolio with launches in Europe.
Emerging growth brands: from THC beverages to RTDs
The emerging growth division covers a variety of beverages and brands: a number of which have evolved over the last year. A long-term distribution partnership with craft brewer Yuengling was announced in September; while a partnership to distribute tequila based RTD cocktail Superbird was revealed last month.
Non-alcoholic beverages is one area the company has been growing in : thanks to a partnership with L.A. Libations. In September it launched a slate of new non-alcoholic products: with probiotic seltzer Huzzah!, plant-based diet soda MadVine, grain-based milk alternative Golden Wing, and a pending nootropic performance beverage targetted at gamers.
Then there's also energy drink Zoa with Dwayne Johnson and a distribution deal with specialty coffee brand La Colombe Coffee.
“In terms of the $1bn revenue ambition for emerging growth [division], it does encompass a number of areas in emerging growth," noted CEO Gavin Hattersley. "So we are not coming from a standing start. We do have all our craft companies in that area. We have our non-alcohol division. We have our cannabis, THC-infused beverages, RTDs and our CBD business. It also includes all of our Latin America exports and license market. So in order to get to $1bn, we're going to have to grow our top line for the emerging growth division by 50%, to give you some idea of the base that we're coming off."
Cannabis and CBD
A more complicated space to navigate is that of CBD and cannabis: although Molson Coors sees itself as one of the earlier players in this category having launched Truss Canada, its JV with Hexo, in 2018.
In August last year it launched its beverage portfolio: with the line up of drinks balancing different strengths of THC and CBD. By December, it had jumped to the number one dollar share position with four of the top five cannabis beverage SKUs in the country, according to Hattersley.
In December, Truss USA released its first launch in Colorado: with Verywell non-alcoholic sparkling CBD drink.
“We are learning a lot about the exciting category following the launch," said Hattersley. "This entire line-up is a tremendous growth opportunity for our business. It will be a driving force behind our goal to build our emerging growth division into a $1bn revenue business by 2023.”
Hard seltzers: 'Once our 4 seltzers are in the market, we'll have the strongest, most differentiated line-up in the US'
While not part of its emerging growth division, Molson Coors also champions hard seltzer as another category with a strong growth projectory. The company has ramped up hard seltzer capacity 400% and is ready to launch Topo Chico Hard Seltzer with Coca-Cola in the US. This will be followed with Topo Chico ranch water.
And it plans to take some of its US launches further afield: with the imminent launch of Vizzy and Coors Seltzer in Canada.
“Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is getting a lot of attention from retailers and distributors alike. Topo Chico mineral water is beloved in the biggest markets throughout the US, especially in Texas, a high potential market," said Hattersley.
“Quickly on its heels, we plan to bring Topo Chico ranch water to market. And again, we see, this brand is best positioned to take advantage of the ranch water craze that has been inspired by Topo Chico mineral water enthusiast, mixing our ranch water at home.
“And still to come is Proof Point, our first voted spirited seltzer.
"When all four seltzers are in market later this spring, we believe we will post the strongest most differentiated seltzer line up in the US. And while we started behind others in the US; in Canada and Europe, we are early entrants in the hard seltzer category.
“In the next couple of weeks, we are taking both Vizzy and Coors Seltzer into Canada. In Europe, building on an existing brand partnership already in markets, the launch of our own Threefold seltzer is planned for March and we will be leading the development of the category across Central and Eastern Europe with an own brand in the second quarter.”