Molson Coors records double-digit top- and bottom-line growth in Q1

✓ Molson Coors grew revenue and pre-tax income, reaffirms guidance for '24
✓ Core U.S. brands continued to grow
✓ Hattersley is "confident" but "cautious" about industry trends

Molson Coors Beverage Company reported another quarter of top- and bottom-line growth today, growing the top line in the first quarter of 2024 by more than 10%, underlying income before income taxes by nearly 69% on a constant currency basis, and making progress on its Acceleration Plan. 

Its strong results were driven by brand volume and net sales per hectoliter growth in both the Americas and EMEA & APAC. Favorable pricing in both its Americas and EMEA & APAC business units also contributed to the growth. 

Molson Coors reaffirmed its guidance for the year, which includes low-single-digit net sales revenue growth and mid-single-digit underlying pretax income growth on a constant-currency basis. On a call with analysts this morning, CEO Gavin Hattersley cited a range of factors when describing Molson Coors’ ability to deliver on its 2024 guide. 

“Retailers are confident, having allocated around 13% more space for Coors Light and Miller Lite in the U.S. during spring resets, which supports our confidence that these share shifts are structural,” Hattersley said. “Our distributors are also confident, which is why we expect our core brands to grow distribution this year. And across the globe, we have strong commercial platforms that are designed to serve our brands in 2024 and the years to come.” 

At the same time, Hattersley pointed out volatility in the U.S. beer industry in 2024 as a reason for caution.  

“To sum it up, we remain confident in our ability to grow the top and bottom line for a third consecutive year, but cautious about current trends in the industry,” he said. 

Leading with the core 

Molson Coors’ core brands in the U.S. – Coors Light, Miller Lite and Coors Banquet – were major drivers of its success in the first quarter. Both Coors Light and Coors Banquet saw double-digit volume growth, while Miller Lite grew in the high single digits. 

In the first quarter, Coors Light was the top dollar-share gainer in the on-premise, according to Nielsen, as well as the top-selling beer in the U.S. grocery channel, per Circana volume sales. In Canada, Coors Light also continued to surge, growing nearly a full share point of the industry so far this year. 

Miller Lite was close on Coors Light’s heels as the No. 2 top dollar-share gainer in the U.S. on-premise. In Canada, where Miller Lite sells at an above-premium price point, it is the fastest-growing above premium beer nationally, growing its brand volume by over 40%, year to date through February. 

Together, Coors Light and Miller pair have put together 12 straight four-week periods of industry-leading growth in the U.S. on-premise, four times the rate of the next largest competitor. 

Finally, Coors Banquet continues to perform. After growing brand volume by more than 20% last year, Banquet tallied 23% brand volume growth in the first quarter, gaining nearly a quarter point of industry dollar share. Moreover, it’s expected to grow distribution in 2024 by nearly 20% thanks to increased demand in parts of the U.S. where it’s previously underindexed, like the Southeast and Great Lakes regions. 

“This is what happens when consumer demand fuels distributor and retailer confidence,” Hattersley said. 

Molson Coors also saw solid performances from core brands in its global portfolio, including Molson brands in Canada, Carling in the U.K. and Ozjusko in Croatia. 

Molson brands outperformed the industry in Canada and gained volume share in the first quarter. Molson Coors’ overall brand volume in Canada grew 3.6% in the first quarter. 

In the U.K., Carling’s partnership with the FA Cup kicked off across TV, digital and retail channels, further cementing the brand’s close association with soccer. And Ozjusko continued its strong momentum in Croatia, owning 54% value share of the core segment. It just launched a new equity campaign, as well. 

Above premium wins 

Madrí Excepcional continued to win over drinkers in the U.K., where it grew dollar sales in the on-trade by nearly 50% and by more than 40% in the off-grade in the first quarter. Launched in 2020, it’s the No. 3 World Beer in the U.K.’s on-trade, closing the gap to No. 2.  

The brand also launched in Canada in the first quarter, and Hattersley said early signs are trending positive, with Madrí Excepcional landing in about 6,000 accounts across the country. It has also just launched a new marketing campaign in the U.K. and Canada to continue growing consumer awareness. 

In the U.S., Hattersley said Blue Moon is seeing “positive traction” after a brand refresh in the first quarter, which included new packaging, the rebranding of Blue Moon Light and the launch of its “Made Brighter” campaign. 

He also said that Blue Moon Non-Alcoholic is off to a solid start. It’s the top-selling new non-alc beer of the year, besting about 30 other new brands, according to Circana, and it’s the No. 3 craft non-alc, seeing positive trends as it gains distribution and awareness.  

“While we certainly have more to do on Blue Moon, we are committed to driving the turnaround and we are happy to see the progress thus far,” Hattersley said. 

Beyond Beer breakout 

Simply Spiked continued to be a star in Molson Coors’ Beyond Beer portfolio, notching nearly 35% brand volume growth in the first quarter. It launched Simply Spiked Limeade in the first quarter, and its variety pack holds the No. 1 new item spot in the flavored alternative beverages segment since its launch. 

Meanwhile, Molson Coors launched its new spiked refresher Happy Thursday earlier this month. “We’ve seen a very positive response from consumers so far, and we look forward to building the brand as we approach the peak summer selling season,” Hattersley said. 

Investing behind brands 

The first quarter saw Molson Coors investing meaningfully in its brands, with awareness and marketing campaigns hitting full stride around key moments like football’s big game and college basketball’s tournament. 

Hattersley called out brands’ big plays, like Coors Light’s “Choose Chill” campaign, which played prominently during both sporting events and preceded the launch of its summer music program. Miller Lite reintroduced its classic “Tastes Great, Less Filling" debate with a new crop of All Stars: top retired athletes J.J. Watt, Reggie Miller, Mia Hamm, David Ortiz and Jorge Posada, as well as actor Luke Wilson.  

“The early response has been phenomenal,” Hattersley said, adding that Simply Spiked is emerging as a brand tied to sports, with a major media presence around college hoops. 

Looking ahead, Hattersley said Coors Banquet would return to national TV for the first time in years as it seeks to capitalize on its hot hand. 

Molson, too, just launched a new campaign tied to its successful “Everyone In” platform. It also began a multi-year partnership with the Professional Women’s Hockey League that won acclaim when the brand sought to give players more visibility by putting its logo on the top of jerseys, an area often obscured by their long hair. Molson will also show up during the Summer Games as the official beer sponsor of Team Canada. 

The company invested in its infrastructure, as well, deploying $144 million in capital projects that support production, cost savings and sustainability initiatives. The renovation of its Golden brewery is expected to be completed soon, and the company announced a £100m investment over the next five years in its U.K. capabilities earlier this month. 

*Please see Molson Coors' press release to find important forward-looking statement disclosure and applicable reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures included in this story.