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Coca-Cola unites with Molson Coors to launch hard seltzer

Coca-Cola is partnering with brewing giant Molson Coors Beverage to launch a range of hard seltzers in the US.

(Photo: Coca-Cola)

Molson Coors has made another leap in its mission to move beyond mainstream lagers by landing an exclusive agreement with The Coca-Cola Company to manufacture, market, and distribute an alcoholic version of its Mexican sparkling water brand, Topo Chico. Molson Coors will launch Topo Chico in the first half of 2021

Coca-Cola bought Topo Chico in 2017 from Arca Continental, one of its bottling partners based in Latin America. The product has been sourced and bottled in Monterrey, Mexico, since 1895, and is popular in Texas.

Releasing a boozy version of the drinks stateside will help the soft drink group expand its alcoholic portfolio beyond Latin America and Japan, where it sells a beverage called Lemon-Do.

The launch will also bolster Molson Coors’ presence in the lower ABV and lower calorie hard seltzer category, which has expanded rapidly over the past four years. This will be the third alcoholic sparkling water Molson Coors has launched in the US, where the brewer holds a 2% share of the overall hard seltzer market.

Sales of hard seltzers, which are largely found in American supermarkets and retail outlets as opposed to bars, skyrocketed in lockdown.

This year, Molson Coors has already announced plans to quadruple production of its hard seltzer range which includes Henry’s Hard Sparkling Water and Vizzy. Last month it signed a joint venture with cannabis company Hexo Corp to produce a line of cannabis-based non-alcoholic drinks in Canada under the brand name Truss Beverage Co.

The brewer acquired a minority stake in California-based L.A. Libations last year, a company which specialises in identifying emerging non-alcoholic drinks brands and helping them to expand, and even changed its name to Molson Coors Beverage Co to “expand beyond beer and into other growth adjacencies” after a third-quarter loss of US$402 million.

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