MillerCoors will have a fight on its hands as Constellation ups its focus on Modelos impressive portfolio

MillerCoors will have a fight on its hands as Constellation ups its focus on Modelo's impressive portfolio

MillerCoors' boss has revealed he is "looking forward" to competing with Constellation Brands in the US beer market and does not fear new rivals.

Tom Long, president & CEO of the Molson Coors and SABMiller JV, admitted that brands such as Corona, which Constellation now has the sole US rights to, are "very powerful in certain parts of the country".  "I'm sure they (Constellation) will be seeking to be more aggressive," Long told Bloomberg TV today (13 June). 

He added: "New competition in beer is something that we're not afraid of and not unaccustomed to, so we'll look forward to competing with them, they're a great competitor." 

Constellation completed its deal to get full control of Crown Imports, the US distributor of Modelo's brands, last week. The company, which benefited from the fall-out of Anheuser-Busch InBev's US$20.1bn acquisition of the Mexican brewer, also has the perpetual US rights for the brands and has taken ownerhsip of one of Modelo's breweries. 

Long admitted that the Modelo range is a "great portfolio" as it has "Hispanic brands with heritage" and America's changing demographics will favour those products. 

He added: "The way we compete is to make Coors Light, Miller Light as relevent as we possibly can."

On future M&A, Long acknowledged that "most of the big deals have been done" in the US beer market, but it was impossible to rule out more activity. "I'll never say never," he said. "We'll figure out new ways to create value and if combinations are part of it well we'll do it."

Earlier, the MillerCoors chief told Bloomberg that its craft beer business, Tenth & Blake, was "really exploding". He also said that its fruit beer, Redds's Apple Ale, launched in January, is "off to a flying start", with a strawberry variant planned for the autumn. 

He also suggested that fruit beer and cider would help attract more women to the category, as around only 20% of US women drink beer.