Molson Coors to Discontinue 11 Economy Brands

The beverage company will focus on premiumization and fewer SKUs. 

August 03, 2021

Pouring Beer

CHICAGO—Molson Coors will drop 11 economy brands and eliminate about 100 SKUs in order to prune its portfolio and retarget its business, the beverage company shared during its second-quarter earnings call with investors.

In a July 29 earnings call, Gavin Hattersley, president and CEO, told investors that the company will continue pursuing a strategy of premiumization, investing more into its global hard seltzer portfolio and streamlining a smaller portfolio of legacy brands.

“This will improve supply chain flexibility for our more profitable priority brands, enhance our innovation efforts, enable us to better focus resources and ensure dependable and on-time shipments to our distributors,” Hattersley said on the call.

Brands that will be eliminated include:

  • Hamm’s Special Light
  • Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve
  • Icehouse Edge
  • Keylightful (a fruity line extension of Keystone Light)
  • Keystone Ice
  • Magnum
  • Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor Ice (but not the core brand)
  • Miller High Life Light
  • Milwaukee’s Best Premium (but not its ice and light varieties)
  • Olde English HG 800
  • Steel Reserve 211

Hattersley acknowledged the exit will impact distributors. “Our local sales teams are partnering with distributors and retailers on a market-by-market basis on exit plans and to identify swaps that makes sense,” Hattersley said. “So, the headline is simple: Premiumization is here to stay at Molson Coors. We're going to invest bigger behind our fast growing global hard seltzer portfolio, and we are going to permanently streamline a smaller portfolio of legacy brands.”

Molson Coors is also shelving its Coors Light Hard Seltzer brand in the U.S. but will continue to offer it in Canada.

“We launched a number of hard seltzers in the U.S. market and got two clear winners in Vizzy and Topo Chico Hard Seltzer. In order to prioritize focus, and put all our investments and efforts behind our two clear winners, that led us to the decision,” Hattersley said on CNBC’s “The Exchange” program, CNBC reports.

According to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis research, beer consumption in the U.S. dropped 7.5% from 2015 to 2020. During that same time, market share for beer in the U.S. alcohol space slipped 3.5 percentage points to 44%, data from Statista shows.

The beverage company has made other changes to lift sales. These include increasing production capacity fourfold for seltzers and other RTD alcohol innovations, working on CBD drinks through a partnership with cannabis producer Hexo, forming partnerships to brew and distribute alcoholic beverages including Yuengling and Topo Chico Hard Seltzer and getting involved in nonalcoholic beverages, such as energy drink Zoa and La Colombe RTD coffee.

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