Molson Coors to ‘premiumise’ portfolio

Molson Coors will invest heavily in product innovation in an attempt to “premiumise” its portfolio after admitting it is too focused on mainstream brands such as Carling and Coors Light.

Carling brewer says it will launch more brand extensions like Carling Zest to boost sales.

The brewer said demand across its businesses fell during the third quarter and warned that the foruth quarter could be its toughest of the year. Despite the drop in demand, sales increased by 11.9 per cent as the business was boosted by the performance of the recently acquired Staropramen brand.

Peter Swinburn, chief executive of Molson Coors, says the business has “suffered” from not having enough exposure to the premium category. It acquired Staropramen brewer Starbev in April and has also launched brand extensions such as the UK’s Carling Zest in a bid to accelerate its premiumisation strategy.

Swinburn adds: “Most of our portfolios are skewed toward mainstream premium. And we suffered from not having enough exposure to our premium. We’re very much skewed towards premiumising the portfolio. And so we’re looking to mix as being a big driver for this over a two-to-three-year period.”

The company also said its decision to combine its UK Ireland and Central European businesses was a “good news story” and was not driven by underperformance across the region.

“It is a standard move for most businesses to have a European platform,” Swinburn said. “We thought this would take longer to happen so really this is a good news story because the integration has gone much more smoothly than we expected.”

Global brewers, including Heineken and AB Inbev, posted mixed results in the latest quarter as stronger demand in North America has been offset by weakness in Western Europe.

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