Sol off to hot start; plans 16-ounce cans

Sol es en fuego.

The Mexican lager is among the fastest-growing imports, up 101.8 percent in sales dollars on a 71.5 percent jump in volume year-to-date through May 19, according to Nielsen all-outlet and convenience data. Over the most-recent four-week period, the brand was on fire, up 332.2 percent on a 261.1 percent surge in volume.

The MillerCoors brand is gathering momentum in the crowded market for Mexican imports, picking up 0.2 points of share over those four weeks. Overall, the brand is now the third-fastest growing Mexican import over the most-recent four weeks. And it’s outpacing Corona Extra, Modelo and Pacifico in the grocery channel.

“We’ve had so much momentum this month, and a lot of that is because we’ve gained a significant amount of distribution thanks to our sales team and our wholesalers,” says Amanda Harkins, associate marketing manager for Sol. “Some of our biggest and best retailers are really getting behind this brand, and our television and out-of-home support is working.”

Early sales numbers, she says, “are showing that we’re on the right track.”

And starting in September, it’s launching another tool: 16-ounce cans that will gain the brand entry into stadiums, outdoor festivals and retailers where other pack types are not sold. Available in four-packs that sellers can convert to single-serve, the 16-ounce cans “are an incremental opportunity that Sol never has had before,” Harkins says. “We’ll have them at retail during a huge selling season with fall festivals and football just getting underway.”

They’ll complement 24-ounce cans of Sol that launched in late March, which have performed well in early reads, Harkins says. The new packages are part of a MillerCoors strategy to update and reimagine the brand after assuming control of U.S. sales and marketing for the brand last fall under a 10-year agreement with Heineken. MillerCoors re-launched the beer in April with new packaging and marketing, including television, social and digital campaigns that aim to cast the brand in a brighter, more vibrant light.

Supported by a national campaign that includes television, social media, digital and outdoor advertising, Sol is targeting drinkers with a message rooted in authenticity and optimism. In addition to retail displays and sampling programs, Sol ran a “Cinco the Sol Way” filter nationally on the social media app Snapchat that booked more than 61 million impressions on the May 5 holiday.

It’s now gearing up for a major television presence during the World Cup, launching in mid-June with a campaign that includes spots during the match between defending World Cup champion Germany and Sol’s home country, Mexico.

“Our plan is to continue to be really active where our consumer is,” Harkins says, “and keep telling the story of Sol and how we fit into their lives.”