Coors plans to up its focus on the "above-premium" beer segment

Coors plans to up its focus on the "above-premium" beer segment

Molson Coors is considering plans to move into the "above-premium" beer segment and remains on the hunt for "smart" M&A opportunities, the group's CEO has told investors. 

Speaking during a webcast at the company's annual shareholder meeting yesterday (30 May), Peter Swinburn said that growing premium beer brands would provide the "biggest profit pull" in developed markets. The segment accounts for around 60% of the brewer's global volumes.

But, later, Swinburn added: "In the coming years, we will also be exploring opportunities to move into the above-premium segment, which is still developing, and at this point, only accounts for 10% of total beer volume." 

A company spokesperson later suggested that Swinburn was referring to the above-premium segment in its Central Europe region, which includes the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. 

Swinburn also noted that, in the US last year, Molson Coors' craft beer business Tenth & Blake, run with its JV partner SABMiller, saw double-digit growth. Blue Moon is currently the US' best-selling "craft" brand, capturing 10% of craft volumes, he said. 

Meanwhile, the group's intergration of StarBev, acquired last year for EUR2.65bn (US$3.54bn) has "gone well", Swinburn said. "We're on schedule to capture the committed US$50m of related synergies, and we are leveraging important processes and commercial learnings from this business, globally."

On the UK, Swinburn admitted that the market is "very challenging", but said the company has "two of the fastest-growing premium brands in Coors Light and Doom Bar".

Looking ahead, Swinburn said: "To support the long-term health of our business, we continue to accelerate our growth in developing markets and capitalise on smart M&A opportunities."