Leading North American lager maker Molson Coors to sell India business

INDIA – Molson Coors, one of North America’s leading lager makers, is considering selling its India business whose struggling operations were made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Molson Coors entered India in 2011 through a joint venture with the Cobra Indian Beer Company, a local indian company based in Bihar.

The brewers fortunes however took a turn for the worst in 2016 when the Bihar government banned the sale and consumption of all kinds of alcohol in the state.

The pandemic made the Indian market even more challenging for the North American based beer company.

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The company recorded significant decline in sales as out-of-home beer consumption (the main demand channel for beer) plummeted due to closures of bars and other entertainment joints where people normally drink beer.

A report by a local daily, Indian Times, indicated that the brewing giant has held several rounds of negotiations with a couple of South India-based breweries with the hope of finding a suitable buyer for its business.

Molson Coors has however not made any official communication about the future of its business in India.

When contacted on the same, a global spokesperson for Molson Coors confirmed the intention of the company to sell its India business.

“That work has been ongoing and we will share more information when a sale occurs. However, we will not engage in speculation and rumours,” he said.

The intended sale of the Indian unit comes at a tiem when Molson Coors is in the middle of a comprehensive turnaround that has completely changed the face of the company and put it on a new growth trajectory.

The turnaround strategy launched in November 2019 by CEO Gavin Hattersley has the company cut more than 500 jobs, revitalize its core beer brands, consolidate operations and make attempt to move beyond the beer aisle.

The move beyond the beer aisle has seen Molson Coors introduce new brands that are either non-alcoholic or low on alcohol.

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Recently, it also partnered with Hollywood actor Dwayne Johnson and others to launch ZOA- a nonalcoholic energy drink made with better-for-you, natural ingredients.

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