Hard Seltzers Drive 2nd-Quarter Growth At Molson Coors

Molson Coors Beverage Company will increase marketing investments in the third quarter this year, chief financial officer Tracey Joubert told investors this morning, with spending that will top both the second quarter in 2021 and the pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019.  During the recently concluded second quarter, she noted, media spend had approached 2019 levels.

The remarks came as Molson Coors reported its largest top-line growth of any quarter during the past 10 years, with U.S. net income of $388.6 million, up 99.3% from $195 million a year earlier.

On the marketing front, Gavin Hattersley, Molson Coors chief executive officer, also promised a bigger marketing push for Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in the months ahead, as Molson Coors expands distribution of its Coca-Cola spinoff beyond the brand’s current 16 markets.

Hattersley cited Topo Chico as one of the major second-quarter successes resulting from Molson Coors’ two-year-old revitalization/premiumization plan. That plan not only saw the company entering premium brand spaces beyond its core beer brands like Miller Lite and Coors Light, but also the just-announced shuttering of 11 economy beer brands like Magnum and Mickey’s malt liquor.

“The demand for Topo Chico is incredibly strong,” Hattersley said, with demand from across many demographic groups. He noted that it's the #3 new hard seltzer brand, the fastest-selling hard seltzer brand in Texas (with a 10 share), and the #3 fastest-selling hard seltzer brand overall, behind only White Claw and Truly.

Molson Coors’ “strong growth of U.S hard seltzers” also includes Vizzy, whose lemonade variety pack helped drive a 1 point U.S. share gain during the second quarter. Hattersley said to expect more Vizzy innovations like its recently introduced watermelon pack.

Ironically, Vizzy will also benefit by moving into spaces vacated by Coors Hard Seltzer, which Molson Coors discontinued recently in the U.S. due to lack of performance.

Other product successes cited by Hattersley during the conference call included:

  • Blue Moon Light Sky, up double digits year over year
  • Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, up 10% year over year
  • Zoa, which he said cracked the top 10 energy drink brands in just a few months
  • Verywell, its CBD drink joint venture with Canada’s Hexo Corp., which has expanded distribution across Colorado 
  • La Colombe, the “#1 above-premium product in RTD coffee market.”

On the ready-to-drink cocktail front, which Molson Coors entered this year with Superbird and Proof Point Spirited Seltzers, Hattersley said, “We look forward to competing in this category.”

Asked if this might cannibalize the company’s hard seltzer brands, he noted that cannibalization was also a concern with hard seltzer but that “more hard seltzer growth is coming from outside the beer category than from the beer category.”

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