Coca Cola to enter US alcoholic market through Molson Coors partnership

USAMolson Coors Beverage Company has partnered with Coca Cola Company to manufacture, market and distribute Coca Cola Co.’s new hard seltzer version of Topo Chico mineral water in the U.S. as both companies look to expand into new categories.

Coca-Cola first announced in the plans to launch the alcoholic version of Topo Chico, its Mexican seltzer brand that’s gained a cult following. According to a statement, the product will arrive in the U.S. nationally in the first half of 2021.

Molson Coors is looking to broaden its reach, following up on plans it announced last year when it dropped Brewing Co. from its name. The shift has come as consumers’ drinking habits move away from beer and toward products such as hard seltzer.

“If you look at growth in hard seltzer, there are a few key drivers,” said Michelle St. Jacques, chief marketing officer at Molson Coors, in a phone interview. She cited growing interest in health and wellness, as well as demand for new drink flavors.

“Building on the incredibly successful launches of Vizzy and Coors Seltzer earlier this year, we are thrilled that Molson Coors will launch Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in 2021,”

Gavin Hattersley – CEO, Molson Coors

Molson Coors will prioritize markets where Topo Chico has gained popularity.

Molson Coors’ other recent forays outside beer include a deal with Hexo Corp. for cannabis-infused beverages. Topo Chico will be the third hard seltzer brand for the company, along with Vizzy and Coors Seltzer.

Coca-Cola is also diversifying its product lineup as Covid-19 lockdowns close down sporting events and amusement parks, taking a bite from the company’s business.

As part of the agreement, Molson Coors will use its marketing, sales and distribution capabilities for a scaled national launch in the first half of 2021, prioritising markets where Topo Chico sparkling mineral water already has strong presence. Initially, the production and packaging of the products will be handled by a third party.

The exclusive agreement marks the latest step by Molson Coors Beverage Company’s to grow its above premium portfolio and become a major competitor in the fast-growing hard seltzer segment. The company’s aim to expand beyond beer was announced as part of its revitalisation plan last year.

“Building on the incredibly successful launches of Vizzy and Coors Seltzer earlier this year, we are thrilled that Molson Coors will launch Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in 2021,” said Gavin Hattersley, CEO of Molson Coors.

Topo Chico Hard Seltzer blends purified sparkling water, a gluten-free alcohol base and natural flavours, with minerals added for taste. The line will come in four flavours: Tangy Lemon Lime, Exotic Pineapple, Strawberry Guava and Tropical Mango.

According to Coca-Cola, the move will enable its hard seltzer to come to market at a faster and more efficient pace.

Dan White, VP of strategic initiatives at The Coca-Cola Company, added: “The Coca-Cola Company and Molson Coors have a shared passion for building and growing some of the world’s most beloved brands.

“In bringing Topo Chico Hard Seltzer to market, our focus is speed, quality and efficiency. Our relationship with Molson Coors Beverage Company allows Topo Chico Hard Seltzer to launch with scale, at an accelerated pace, delivering a product that consumers will love.”

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