• To launch Coors Light IcedT in Canada
  • Carling Zest to launch in UK
  • Targets China, India, Russia & Ukraine for international growth
Molson Coors to launch Coors Light IcedT

Molson Coors to launch Coors Light IcedT

Molson Coors is launching Coors Light with iced tea as part of its plan to broaden beer's appeal in mature markets.

Coors Light IcedT will initially launch in Canada later this month, but could be rolled out in other markets depending on its success. The 4% abv beer will come in 35.5cl cans and claims to contain only natural flavours.

Molson Coors' CEO, Peter Swinburn, said on a conference call yesterday (6 March) that the brewer will put significant investment behind the launch in 2012. The move is part of Molson Coors' dual stragegy of reinvigorating consumer demand for beer in its core markets of North America and the UK, at the same time as pushing further into emerging markets.

In the UK, Swinburn said that the brewer is following the launch of Carling Chrome last year with Carling Zest. Positioned as a premium bottled lager with "a hint of citrus", Carling Zest will be available only during the summer. In the US, meanwhile, Swinburn said that its joint-venture with SABMiller, MillerCoors, is plotting a Leinenkugels extension for the autumn, while the group is also increasing investment behind its Batch 19 craft beer.

In mature markets, Molson Coors is keen to stem beer's market share leak to spirits and wine. "Someone else is eating our lunch in the alcohol space and we've got to respond to that," Swinburn said.

At the same time, he said that Molson Coors International (MCI) is focused on growing sales in India, China, Russia and Ukraine in order to improve the brewer's presence and profitability in key emerging markets. Alongside the four-country focus, MCI is focused predominantly on the Carling, Cobra and Coors Light brands.

In 2011, MCI's pre-tax losses deepened by almost 30%, to US$33.3m. However, its net sales rose by 53% versus 2010, to $122.6m, while volumes rose by around 51%.

"Over past two years, our international business has nearly doubled in size, while reducing investment per hectolitre by 20%," Swinburn said. "Last year, MCI was 3% of our global volumes, but 16% of net sales growth for Molson Coors."

He added that MCI is pegged to become a "significant contributor" to the group's global volumes and profits by 2015, although he stopped short of providing more specific details. In 2011, MCI accounted for around 5.4% of Molson Coors' global volume sales and around 3.5% of its net sales, based on figures in the brewer's full-year results.