Molson Coors delivered ‘six years of profit growth’ in 2023, says Hattersley

Molson Coors Beverage Company grew its top and bottom line for the second year in a row, helping it notch its highest reported dollar results on record, the company said today, as it reported its full-year 2023 and fourth-quarter earnings.

The record results are the latest showpiece for Molson Coors, which navigated the structural shift in the U.S. beer industry by bringing in – and keeping – new drinkers into its portfolio, and has established a new baseline for success, CEO Gavin Hattersley told the investment community today.

“Growth is not a strong enough word to describe what we achieved in 2023,” he said. “In fact, our 2023 underlying pretax income was higher than we thought it would be, and frankly, higher than anyone I am aware of said it would be – in 2028. So Molson Coors delivered six years of profit growth – six years of growth – in just one year. That, folks, is a new baseline.”

The company’s results were driven by the sustained growth of its core brands in the U.S., as well as globally; revenue growth from its above premium brands; and the continued migration of consumers to its portfolio.

Core brands drive significant growth

In the U.S., Molson Coors grew in every region, every channel and with every major customer, and its core brands were pivotal to those results.

Coors Light, Miller Lite and Coors Banquet all achieved double-digit brand volume growth in the fourth quarter. Miller Lite lapped an especially strong end to 2022 and still grew a half point of industry dollar share. And Coors Light grew dollar share by nearly a full share point in the quarter.

Coors Banquet, meanwhile, tallied its 11th straight quarter of industry share growth, while growing volume nearly 20% for the year. It increased distribution in 2023, as well, growing draught lines by nearly 50% in the fourth quarter alone.

Hattersley said he expects these strong trends to continue in the spring as major U.S. retailers reset their shelves.

“Based on the conversations we are having with top retailers, we expect to gain significantly more distribution and space for our brands in 2024, on top of the gains we made last year,” he said, noting the shift will likely take place gradually between March and July.

Additionally, last year, Molson Coors’ U.S. brands grew more share of the on-premise than any other brewer, Hattersley said. Miller Lite’s and Coors Light’s lift was so significant, they each grew more dollars in the on-premise in the fourth quarter than any other brewer did as a total business.

The trends continued in Canada, where Molson Coors was the only major brewer to grow share of the on-premise. Coors Light and Molson trademark grew share of the industry in 2023. They are the No. 1 and No. 2 beers in Ontario, respectively, and Miller Lite – which sells at an above premium price point in Canada – grew volume nearly 60% in the fourth quarter.

And in Croatia, Ožujsko tallied its highest share levels ever, now owning more than a 50% share of the core segment.

Global brands contribute to growth

In the fourth quarter, Molson Coors’ EMEA & APAC business achieved a record high 52.3% of its net brand revenue at an above premium price point, led by Madrí Excepcional’s continued momentum in the United Kingdom.

Madrí Excepcional was the country’s fastest-growing major beer brand in both volume and value sales in the quarter. For the full year, it grew volume sales by 80%, easily surpassing 1 million hectoliters and cementing its spot as a top-10 brand in Molson Coors’ global portfolio.

Madrí Excepcional is set to launch in Canada later this month, and will be introduced to select European countries this year, as well.

Flavor also continued drive growth for Molson Coors, with Simply Spiked leading the way. In 2023, it more than doubled its volume in the U.S., and Simply Spiked Peach was the No. 1 innovation by volume and dollar sales in the grocery channel, per Circana. The brand is launching Simply Spiked Limeade in the U.S. this month.

Simply Spiked is also growing in Canada, where it launched less than a year ago. It has nearly a 4% share of the segment, according to Beer Canada. Along with Coors Seltzer and Vizzy Hard Seltzer, it helped Molson Coors become the only major brewer in Canada to grow share of flavor.

Expecting continued growth in ‘24

The company issued its full-year outlook, which again includes top- and bottom-line growth.

With 2024 plans that include a new marketing campaign for Coors Light in the U.S. and Canada, a campaign of similar scale for Miller Lite, and a focused approach to delivering high-end innovation across the globe, Hattersley’s message to investors and analysts was simple:

“We are very confident we can grow off our tremendous results from 2023,” he said. “And we are very confident in the momentum of our brands and our plans for 2024.”

*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.