It appears the fastest way to growth for many beer companies is to look beyond beer.
The latest example came Tuesday when Molson Coors Brewing announced it is launching Coors Light Iced Tea in Canada next month, with a possible U.S rollout at a later date. The drink is being billed as “Coors Light with a refreshing taste of Iced Tea” and will be 4 percent alcohol.
“Coors Light Iced Tea addresses some of the occasions that currently beer doesn't go into. It's a great proposition” Molson Coors CEO Peter Swinburn told CNBC Wednesday. “We've got the world's most refreshing alcoholic beer sort of meeting up with the most refreshing nonalcoholic drink in the world. Those two things go really well together.”
Molson executives say the move is designed to make beer more attractive to people who have moved on to wine or cocktails. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the volume of spirits sold in the U.S. rose 2.7 percent last year while beer sales saw an overall decline of one percent, the third consecutive yearly decline.
“The reality is although the beer market's been challenged in some of our markets, the overall alcohol market is actually growing. Consumers are actually finding occasions where beer doesn't satisfy them” said Swinburn. “We need to understand what those occasions are and develop beers that actually satisfy those occasions. By and large, beer is still very much the alcohol drink of choice.”
Molson Coors is not alone in turning to other products to spur growth. According to Ad Age, Anheuser Busch Inbev will also be entering the hard tea category with an extension of its Michelob Ultra line, called Michelob Ultra 19th Hole Light Tea and Lemonade. Anheuser Busch is also expected to introduce Michelob Ultra Light Cider in May.
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