CCA runs a brewing JV with Casella

CCA runs a brewing JV with Casella

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) has signed “long-term exclusive” deals to distribute Molson Coors and C&C Group beer and cider brands as the Australia-based group moves deeper into the alcohol beverage market.

CCA will handle Molson Coors' premium brands in Australia from 16 December, the company said in first-half results today (20 August). C&C brands including Gaymer's cider will be distributed in New Zealand and the Pacific region by CCA, where it already handles Molson Coors labels.

Terry Davis, CCA's MD, said the move will give the company access to premium and craft beer's AUD300m (US$272m) profit pool in Australia at little extra infrastructure cost. “The profit pool in Australian alcohol is at higher margins than the whole non-alcohol beverage market, of which we have about 80% anyway,” Davis said in a call with analysts today. 

CCA has distributed Beam Inc brands since 2006 and last year signed a brewing JV with winery Casella. The JV owns a brewery in New South Wales, which will produce the Molson Coors brands for the Australian market. Davis said the brewery has 10% of Australia's total premium beer capacity.

“We have a great draught capability and Australia's most versatile brewery,” Davis said, adding that he is confident of securing more brands to brew at the facility.

It is unclear which Molson Coors labels CCA will initially handle, but the company said it will release more information in December. A Molson Coors spokesperson told just-drinks today it does not currently distribute its brands in Australia.

CCA today also signed a ten-year extension to its Beam partnership.

The group's first-half results saw a drop in profits and sales because of weaknesses in Australian grocer channels.