USA – Molson Coors Beverage Company has announced a long-term deal with La Colombe Coffee Roasters which will see it distribute the company’s ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee products in convenience and drug stores nationwide.

The partnership with Molson Coors will allow La Colombe to increase its retail footprint by more than 400% within 18 months in convenience stores, which rank as the top channel for ready-to-drink coffee, accounting for some 41% of total retail sales, per Nielsen data.

Under terms of the deal, Molson Coors will tap into its vast distribution network to move La Colombe’s Draft Latte and Brazilian Cold Brew products beginning in January 2021.

“This provides us with a great opportunity to partner with a leading company in the ready-to-drink coffee space. La Colombe is a great brand,” said Pete Marino, president of Molson Coors’ emerging growth division.

“This provides us with a great opportunity to partner with a leading company in the ready-to-drink coffee space. La Colombe is a great brand,”

Pete Marino – president, Molson Coors

“They are deeply committed to quality; they intercept thousands of coffee drinkers daily in their cafes and they have an unreal commitment to furthering that loyalty with their delicious RTDs.”

Founded in 1994 and known for its ethically sourced ingredients and high-quality roasting technique, La Colombe is credited as being a pioneer in the third-wave coffee revolution, which focused on the culinary aspect of coffee and helped redefine it as a sophisticated product.

The Philadelphia-based coffee roaster’s ready-to-drink coffee beverages are available in thousands of grocery and big-box stores nationally, in addition to its 30 cafes in six states.

“The RTD coffee opportunity in drug and c-stores is a huge opportunity,” said Marino, “and with La Colombe, we believe we have partnered with the best company in the RTD coffee space when you look across their brand strength, their quality and their innovation pipeline.”

Both companies came out winners in the distribution deal, Marino said. “It’s a great opportunity for the Molson Coors beverage company, and it’s a great opportunity for La Colombe to continue to sell these great products to coffee enthusiasts across the country.”

Consumer demand for RTD coffee products is growing. The U.S. market is estimated to be worth US$4.6 billion today, and it is expected to grow by more than 60% over the next five years, according to an analysis of third-party data.

La Colombe ranks among the fastest growing in the U.S. ready-to-drink coffee category in the total U.S. food channel, IRI data show. Over the 52-week period ended September 6, La Colombe posted 59% growth, more than double that of the industry rate of 22%, per IRI.

It’s not the first time Molson Coors and La Colombe have joined forces. In 2019, they paired up to test La Colombe Hard Cold Brew coffee, a ready-to-drink cold brew with 4.2% alcohol-by-volume. After the test concluded, the two companies found their goals for the future aligned, Marino said.

The deal is the latest in a series of moves by Molson Coors to expand its business beyond the beer aisle since re-branding itself as Molson Coors Beverage Company. Just this month, the company inked a deal with Coco-Cola to manufacture, market and distribute Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in the US.

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