NEW YORK — Molson Coors is better positioned to win in the beer and beverage business than ever before.
That’s the message Brian Feiro, Molson Coors Beverage Company’s incoming president of U.S. sales, delivered to distributors and industry insiders today at the Beer Marketer's Insight's Beer Insights Seminar in New York City.
“Beer is back,” Feiro said. And beyond the beer aisle, Molson Coors has “a lot of options in our portfolio that make us not only viable today, but into the future.”
In a wide-ranging conversation on his 20-year tenure with Molson Coors, the state of the industry and his sales priorities, Feiro said his mandate upon taking over for the retiring Kevin Doyle in January is clear: To “build on the progress we’ve made and accelerate the transformation and revitalization of our company.”
That begins, he said, with continuing to strengthen the company’s relationship with its distributor network: “We are going to continue and build on our commitment to be more simple, more local, and more collaborative with our distributors.”
While Feiro, currently Molson Coors’ chief customer officer, acknowledges there’s work to do when he takes over as president of U.S. sales in January, he inherits a portfolio of brands that is growing amid an increasingly complex and evolving retail environment.
Feiro said Molson Coors’ national execution framework will evolve with “a clear and consistent look of what good looks like at retail.”
That starts with a focus on its core brands.
“One of the most important things we’ve seen is more retailers asking for a focus against the core,” he said.
And Molson Coors’ focus on core products like Coors Light and Miller Lite is a “refreshing view for retailers,” he said.
Last quarter, Coors Light and Miller Lite combined with Coors Banquet to grow a full share point of the premium beer segment, according to IRI. Coors Light and Miller Lite are “the strongest they’ve been in years,” Feiro said.
Meanwhile, Coors Banquet is the fastest-growing domestic premium beer and gaining share of total beer year-to-date, per IRI multi-outlet and convenience data through Oct. 30. Dollar sales grew more than 12% over the last 13 weeks. And Blue Moon Belgian White Belgian-style wheat ale continues to hold its spot as the top craft brand in the U.S., recovering 96% of its 2019 on-premise volume, Feiro said.
Beyond the beer aisle, Feiro pointed to a string of innovations that have yielded success for Molson Coors and its distributors, including Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, Simply Spiked Lemonade and the energy drink ZOA, each of which serves as a as key component of the company’s revitalization plan.
Topo Chico Hard Seltzer franchise is the fastest-growing brand in hard seltzer, and ZOA is the fastest energy drink brand to net $80 million in sales, according to IRI.
Simply Spiked Lemonade, meanwhile, is the top new flavored-alcohol beverage product of the year, playing off the ubiquity of the $2 billion Simply brand, which can be found in half of American households.
“We believe Simply Spiked is our rocket ship to the moon,” Feiro said.
The company also will continue to invest more time, energy and resources into e-commerce, which exploded during the pandemic and has risen to become a key focus for the beverage industry. Molson Coors is focused on working with its distributors to build their own B2B e-commerce solutions, while providing its sales teams and distributors with tools and technology to help sell and execute at retail.
In short, Feiro said succeeding in today’s business means being nimble and open-minded.
“It takes a willingness to collaborate, and it takes an ability to do things differently – sometimes overnight,” he said. “Simply put, right now Molson Coors is better positioned to win in the beer and beverage business than it ever has been.”