Molson Coors expands footprint beyond beer

Molson Coors Beverage Company has launched its Beverage Hub, a dedicated team to support its growing portfolio of brands in emerging, fast-growth categories. It has also announced three new distribution partnerships as it continues to expand its footprint beyond the beer aisle.

The new 15-strong Beverage Hub team, led by beverages director Jack Daniel, will focus on building independent partnerships with new brands in key sectors, like Ready-to-Drink (RTD), adult soft drinks and premium spirits, supporting their growth through Molson Coors’ established on and off-trade networks across Western Europe. The move follows the company’s re-brand to Molson Coors Beverage Company in 2019, as it looks to broaden its portfolio beyond beer and cider.

The Beverage Hub team will also focus on developing new routes to market including the expansion of Revl, Molson Coors’ direct-to consumer platform which launched last year.

The launch of the new team comes as Molson Coors has agreed exclusive distribution partnerships with three brands; Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, Lixir Drinks and Tarquin’s Gin and Twin Fin Rum from Southwestern Distillery. This follows the launch of its own hard seltzer brand Three Fold, and partnerships with Bodega Bay and Miami Cocktail Company, announced last year, which will sit alongside the new brands in the Beverage Hub. 

Jack Daniel, beverages director at Molson Coors Beverage Company in Western Europe, said: “Our mission is to provide consumers with the perfect drink for every occasion. The creation of the Beverage Hub is our response to the growing number of consumers reaching for ready-to-drink options, premium spirits and aspirational adult soft drinks and opening up those growth opportunities for our customers. 

“Our latest partnerships are with brands that have great tasting products and founders who have fantastic stories to share that underpin truly distinctive brands.

“This is a milestone moment for us and marks the next phase of our long-term plan to ensure we are offering choice in line with new consumer tastes to drive our customers’ growth, while also continuing to grow our core portfolio in the beer and cider category. It is the next phase of our already established wholesale offer to the independent on-trade, where we provide a range of beverages outside our own beer and cider heartlands. Through the Beverage Hub we now have the capability to bring a wider offer to our managed retail and off-trade customers as well.”

Molson Coors will support the rollout of iced coffee brand Jimmy’s Iced Coffee across the off-trade nationally, as well as using its wider network to drive international growth. Molson Coors will distribute its entire plastic-free range to the on-trade and selected off-trade customers. The range includes Jimmy’s Iced Coffee Original and Mocha in 25cl cans and their Iced Flat White line up, also in 25cl cans, which includes Oat, Skinny and Extra Shot varieties. Molson Coors will also distribute Jimmy’s most unique offering – Coffee Cola, this will be available in a 27.5cl glass bottle.

The ready-to-drink coffee category is worth £165.6million in the off-trade, in growth by 20%.

Jimmy’s Co-founder, Jim Cregan, said: “This gives us at Jimmy’s the chance to reach places, fridges and people we’ve not been able to due to our limited resource as a small business.

“This will help us to properly expand our presence in the convenience sector, the on-trade, and to expand our distribution in the retail game. It also allows us to further explore export too which has always been a dream for us.”

Molson Coors has also partnered with premium tonic water and mixer brand Lixir Drinks. Currently available in 16 countries, Lixir Drinks has an eight-strong range of drinks all made from natural ingredients, which are low in calories, including tonic waters Rhubarb & Ginger, Elderflower & Lemon, and Blood Orange & Cinnamon, as well as Classic Indian, and Refreshingly Light tonic water, alongside Ginger Beer, Ginger Ale and Soda Water.

Molson Coors will support Lixir Drinks’ rollout in the UK off-trade, following its successful trial in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland last year.

Matt Mahatme, co-founder of Lixir Drinks said: “It’s great to be partnering with Molson Coors to get our products into the hands of consumers across the UK and Ireland.

“When we established the company back in 2018, our aim as bartenders was to create a range of premium mixers with a more informal, unexpected personality and that only used natural ingredients. Since then, we have brought eight new exciting mixers to the market and we’re really looking forward to introducing more consumers to our product range, which are big on flavour, low in calories and contain absolutely no artificial ingredients.”

In the spirits category, Molson Coors has secured a long-term partnership with South Western Distillery, home to super-premium craft Cornish gin brand Tarquin’s Gin to bring its products, which include variants such as Tarquin’s Cornish Dry Gin, Tarquin’s Rhubarb and Raspberry and Tarquin’s British Blackberry Gin, as well as its new and popular Twin Fin Rum, to retailers nationwide and into Western Europe.

Southwestern Distillery is based near Padstow close to Molson Coors’ owned Sharp’s Brewery in Rock, and the two have already collaborated to develop the limited-edition Tarquin’s Hopster Gin.

Founder and Master Distiller Tarquin Leadbetter said: “I’ve spent almost a decade building Tarquin’s Gin, from distilling on my cooker at home in 2012, to selling the first batch out of the boot of my car in 2013, we’ve grown to a team of 50 staff to become one of the largest independent family distilleries in the UK in 2021. This new distribution will enable us to rollout further into UK retail and expand export beyond our existing 25 international markets.”

Daniel said: “These partnerships talk to tapping into category growth trends, but they’re also about finding people and brands that share our vision. Quality and great taste comes first of course, but we also want to work with brands that have a story to tell and founders that share that philosophy and a curiosity to learn from each other. These are successful businesses and brands in their own right and we’re really honoured and proud to be a part of their journey.”

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