Molson Coors Beverage Co. is taking another big step beyond the beer aisle with a new alcohol brand made with real fruit juice inspired by Simply, The Coca-Cola Company’s best-selling line of juices.
The first product, Simply Spiked Lemonade, will launch this summer in a variety pack.
Under an expanded agreement with The Coca-Cola Company, Molson Coors plans to bring Simply Spiked Lemonade to market in a variety 12-pack of 12-ounce slim cans featuring four flavors: Signature Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Watermelon Lemonade and Blueberry Lemonade. Select flavors also will be available in stand-alone 24-ounce cans.
Each are made with real fruit juice and check in at 5% alcohol-by-volume.
For Molson Coors, the brand represents “a huge opportunity. There’s nothing in the market quite like it, which is really exciting,” says Jamie Wideman, vice president of innovation for Molson Coors.
Simply Spiked Lemonade is the latest brand slated to launch under an expanded agreement between Molson Coors and The Coca-Cola Company, which also teamed up last year to launch Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in the U.S.
Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, which already has staked out a position as a top-five player in the hard seltzer category, expanded distribution nationally this month. The brand also just debuted Topo Chico Ranch Water Hard Seltzer in certain markets.
The Coca-Cola Company “has an amazing history of building iconic brands,” Wideman says. “And with our track record of disrupting existing beverage alcohol categories with new brands with winning points of difference, we’re putting our strengths together in a way that’s collaborative and set up for success.”
Dan White, chief of new revenue streams for the Coca-Cola North American Operating Unit, said the two companies have combined their complementary skills to forge a “thriving relationship.”
“The proof is in the success of Topo Chico Hard Seltzer’s national expansion and the introduction of Topo Chico Ranch Water Hard Seltzer,” he says. “With this momentum, we are excited to expand our relationship with products inspired by another one of our most valuable brands: Simply.”
Simply, a growing billion-dollar brand, is The Coca-Cola Company’s second-largest U.S. brand in terms of net revenue after Coca-Cola. It is the nation’s top-selling refrigerated juice brand and is found in half of American households, on average, per Nielsen data. Known for its real, high-quality juices and variety of flavors, Simply already is routinely used by consumers to form cocktails.
“There are other juice brands, but there’s not another Simply. The power that brand brings to market is really unique,” Wideman says. “It has incredible household penetration and the highest consumer awareness among juice brands."
Bringing the new product to market, she says, "gives new consumers a reason to step back into our aisle."
The brand, made with a fermented sugar cane base, is shelf stable and classified as a flavored alcohol beverage. It will be positioned firmly outside the hard seltzer space, Wideman says. “This is a completely different proposition.”
It will enter an evolving beverage alcohol space in which flavored alcohol beverages posted 10% growth in 2021 to become a nearly $2 billion segment as more consumers turn to high-flavor beverages without high sugar and artificial flavors.
While that movement has calcified largely because of the disrupting force hard seltzer has wrought on the market, many of the new innovations within that space are focused on higher flavor.
“We’re starting to see an aperture widen in terms of flavor,” Wideman says. “There’s a big and growing segment of consumers who want bold and delicious flavors, and with this brand we have that.”