Coors Light No. 1 in grocery, as Choose Chill campaign takes center court

Coors Light is now the top-selling beer in the U.S. grocery channel — an achievement that follows a remarkable 2023 for the brand and a strong start to 2024, including a successful campaign around football’s big game and expanded space at retail expected in the spring.

Coors Light is No. 1 in nearly all metrics, from dollar sales and volume sales to household penetration and display dollars, according to Circana data for the 52-week period that ended Feb. 25. In one year, it has hopped from the third-biggest brand in grocery to the #1 spot, moving past Michelob Ultra.

“Taking the No. 1 spot in grocery is an amazing milestone that positions Coors Light for sustained, long-term growth,” says Andrew McGuire, chief commercial solutions officer for Molson Coors. “We’re only getting started.”

To keep the momentum going strong, Coors Light has big plans for 2024, from its new “Choose Chill” platform and partnership with brand ambassador Lainey Wilson, to launching localized assets in over 65 markets in the U.S. and Canada. Now, the brand is making a big push toward basketball fans, starting with a series of promotions for the men’s college basketball tournament this month and next.

Choosing Chill all March long

Coors Light is bringing some much-needed chill to tourney time, one of the most notoriously stressful seasons in sports. The brand plans to show up wherever hoops fans are with a high-profile ESPN partnership, prizes for busted brackets and a large presence at bars across the country.

Coors Light’s involvement with the tournament starts before the first tip-off, where it’s teamed up with ESPN to sponsor the network’s ESPN Tournament Challenge, the #1 bracket game. (Last year, it hosted more than 20 million brackets. At one point, fans were filling out more than 26,000 brackets a minute.) This year, millions of fans will create their brackets on Coors Light-branded pages.

“Partnering with ESPN is a huge moment for us,” says Vi Tran, senior brand manager for Coors Light. “They are the #1 bracket game, with millions of people visiting their site during March. That means millions of fans will see Coors Light when they build their brackets and hopefully they’ll choose to chill with us during the whole tournament.”

Busted bracket prizes

Obviously, most brackets will get busted long before the championship game. That’s why Coors Light has created the “Don’t Let Your Bracket Break You” program to help soften the blow. Fans can submit their broken brackets for a chance to win prizes, including ESPN+ subscriptions, Venmo gift cards and custom Coors Light sneakers.

“We know that when you fill out a bracket, you have something like a 1 in 120.2 billion chance of getting everything right,” says Tran. “You're most likely going to have a busted bracket at some point. So Coors Light’s message to our consumers is to not let your bracket break you.”

To get the word out, Coors Light created plenty with branded coasters, beverage wraps and stadium cups for bars and restaurants. This will help Coors Light continue its momentum in the segment, where it grew more dollar share in 2023 than any other U.S. brewer. The brand grew its on-premise dollar share by 6.5% through the last week of 2023, according to Nielsen, while increasing dollars sales by 17.5%.

It will also have loads of retail tools options for off-premise, along with national promotions and eCom extensions.

“You’re going to see the ‘Don’t Let Your Bracket Break You’ everywhere,” says Tran.

21 days of 'Chill'

For those needing constant chill all tournament long, Coors Light created a 21-day “Countdown to Chill Calendar,” an advent-inspired calendar containing small gifts to help fans relax.

“I don't want to reveal everything, but it has chill tea for when the emotions are hot, press-on nails for all those nail-biting moments and a glass slipper charm for those wishing for a fairy tale ending,” says Tran. 

The $21 countdown calendars will be available on Monday, March 11 starting at 12 p.m. ET. Click here for more info. 

Don’t stress out, but you might want to hurry. Only 100 will be sold.