Flavor trends generating growth at Molson Coors

Flavor continues to generate gains in the Molson Coors portfolio.

Headlined by the success of the Simply Spiked franchise, sales of which have been booming this spring, Molson Coors’ play to win over legal-age American drinkers with flavor is paying off.

Buoyed by the introduction of Simply Spiked® Peach in April, the brand family has booked around $4.5 million in sales in for the four weeks that ended May 28, according to Circana. Simply Spiked Lemonade introduced its four-flavor variety pack and singles of select flavors nearly a year ago and ended 2022 as Circana’s No. 2 top new product in sales. Simply Spiked Peach is the No. 1 innovation in all of beer, according to Circana’s latest scans.

The trends are favoring Molson Coors’ hard seltzer portfolio, too. As the segment notched 13% volume growth over the four weeks that ended May 28 versus the prior period, both Topo Chico® Hard Seltzer and Vizzy Hard Seltzer are on a roll, according to Circana multi-outlet and convenience store data, far outpacing the category and key competitors.

Topo Chico Hard Seltzer posted 29.5% volume growth according to Circana, while Vizzy is charging ahead, with volume sales up a striking 40.2% during that time. That’s a bright spot for a segment that’s seen significant year over year decline, but counts on a sales boost from warmer weather.

Meanwhile, Arnold Palmer Spiked is the No. 2 hard tea, according to Circana, booking its fifth consecutive year of growth in 2022. The franchise's volume sales are up 9% thus far in 2023, according to Circana data for the last 13 weeks that ended May 7, driven in part by new innovations, including Arnold Palmer Spiked Lite and Arnold Palmer Spiked Half & Half Raspberry.

“Our brands deliver the refreshment and flavor drinkers are looking for with distinct and interesting brands that consumers are proud to bring to a party. They play in so many occasions, especially in the summer, as they’re very sessionable,” says Joy Ghosh, vice president of marketing for the above premium flavor portfolio at Molson Coors Beverage Company. “It’s a powerful trifecta, and that’s why consumers are continuing to reach for our brands.”

Flavor fuels Topo Chico Hard Seltzer

Topo Chico Hard Seltzer’s growth is driven by its Original, Margarita and Ranch Water variety packs, which have collectively made it the No. 3 top-selling hard seltzer brand in the U.S., according to Circana. In April, it introduced Topo Chico Spirited, its first line of ready-to-drink canned cocktails made with real spirits.

And this week, it’s augmented its lineup with a new beverage inspired by a staple of Mexican street markets, taquerias and restaurants: fruity and crisp Topo Chico Aguas Frescas Hard Seltzer, which is available for a limited time this summer.

Launching in 32 states, the 4% alcohol by volume, 100-calorie Topo Chico Aguas Frescas Hard Seltzer is sold in variety packs of 12-ounce slim cans, and comes in four flavors:

  • Passionfruit Mango: Tropical, fruity flavors of passionfruit and mango are perfectly balanced for a bright and refreshing taste.
  • Citrus Tamarind: Bright citrus flavor balanced with a rich and fruity note for a refreshing and unique twist on hard seltzer.
  • Ripe Watermelon: Sweet watermelon flavor rounded out by a hint of lime taste creates a mouthwateringly crisp and refreshing oasis in a can.
  • Hibiscus Lime: Well-balanced hibiscus and lime flavors with a floral and honey taste upfront that gives Hibiscus Lime a spritzy feel and juicy finish.

“The new Aguas Frescas Hard Seltzer flavors are a delicious and refreshing addition to the Topo Chico Hard Seltzer lineup,” says Ghosh. “This new lineup is flavorful, as you’d expect from aguas frescas-style beverages, but also has the crisp, refreshing taste that Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is known for.”

Vizzy’s new packaging drives growth

As Vizzy has notched double-digit growth this spring, it has also grown dollar share nearly 50% since April 2, according to Circana; it now holds a 3.2 share, just .35 points behind the No. 4 hard seltzer.

Much of that growth is driven by its updated look, which tightened its lineup of dual-flavored hard seltzers, in colorful packaging that stand out on shelves, says Liz Cramton, Molson Coors’ director of marketing for hard seltzers.

“Our core packs are selling more and selling faster. They are popping at retail and there’s a lot of excitement around Vizzy’s new look,” she says.

Zooming in, the picture gets even brighter. While the new packaging has been rolling out across the U.S., it’s been fully introduced into several markets, including Chicago and Milwaukee, where its impact is obvious. In Chicago, volume sales have increased 97% for the last four weeks that ended May 28 versus the prior period, before the new packaging was introduced, according to Circana. And Circana data show the brand increased its feature and display count by more than 730% during that time.

In Milwaukee, volume sales were up 55% in that time, while features and displays grew 83%, Circana data show.

Coupled with the launch of its orange cream pop limited-time flavor and a growing partnership with the Professional Pickleball Association, Cramton says she is feeling confident about Vizzy heading into the summer. The new packaging, she says, tested well with consumers, who said it was easier to find on shelves.

“Our shelf presence makes a huge difference. Vizzy doesn’t blend into the background. Each pack has its own vibe, with the vibrant dual flavors consumers are looking for,” Cramton says.

Making up more than 10% of total beer sales, hard seltzers are still a significant segment. It plays an important role in the industry – and within Molson Coors’ flavor portfolio, Ghosh says.

“The segment has evolved a bit, but consumers are still picking up hard seltzer especially as we head into the warmer months,” he says. “We have the brands consumers are looking for and the taste that keeps them coming back.”