Dan Lundberg calls 2021 the year Molson Coors’ craft beer arm, Six Pints Collective, “filled out its closet.”
The collective, which Lundberg leads, added dozens of new products to its portfolio over the past 15 months, including the launch of Fine Company in the Maritime provinces and Eugene, Ore.-born Hop Valley Brewing, and closing a sizable deal to distribute a collection of European beers from Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat.
On top of that, it posted massive growth with its Canadian craft brands Brasseur de Montréal and Trou du Diable, leading Six Pints Collective’s sales up north of 40%, company data show. It picked up more than two points of share in the craft segment in Canada through November, according to Beer Canada.
And that, Lundberg says, is just the start.
“The foundation we laid in 2021 has put us in a great position to accelerate in 2022,” Lundberg says. “The horses are out, they’re ready to go. Now let’s see what they can do.”
Perhaps the biggest opportunity will be when Hop Valley launches nationally at retail (timing may vary by province), giving Six Pints a national IPA in a market in which IPA is the second-largest style. While Hop Valley’s flagship IPA, Bubble Stash, launched in more than 500 on-premise accounts last year on draft, the brand now will be available in cans at many of Canada’s biggest national chain retailers.
“Despite a limited and mostly draft launch in a pandemic, Hop Valley’s reception among Canadian drinkers has been amazing,” Lundberg says. “With incredibly strong orders this year, we’re very optimistic on what it can do in 2022. We’re jumping on it.”
Six Pints also plans to pour more fuel on the twin-burning fires in its two Quebec-based breweries, Brasseur de Montréal and Trou du Diable, which each ramped up innovation and added capacity in 2021 on the way to rapid growth. Brasseur de Montréal, which received an award-winning brand overhaul and redesign in late 2020, grew more than 70% in 2021 on the back of new innovations and enhanced distribution in the on- and off-premise.
Trou du Diable, meanwhile, built upon its award-winning credentials with its beer Le Coq, which was named World’s Best Kriek at the 2021 World Beer Awards. The brewery also branched off with a more accessible line of beers packaged in cans and more widely distributed, leading to nearly 50% growth for the year, Molson Coors data show.
In Ontario, Creemore Springs turned in a solid second half, growing keg sales in its home market by more than 10% and adding a new line of small-batch beers aimed at building its craft bona fides.
In the craft-heavy British Columbia market, Granville Island boosted keg sales by more than 10% and its Peach Sour won best flavoured wild/sour beer in Canada at the 2021 World Beer Awards.
Six Pints also continues to build Fine Company, which launched in late 2020 as a beer “by Maritimers for Maritimers,” and has since released four beers on the way to growing to a top 10 craft brand in the Maritime provinces.
The deal to expand into European craft with the addition of Duvel brands, meanwhile, “is the first big piece of really unlocking the power of what Six Pints can be as a collective,” Lundberg says. “These globally recognized brands are incremental to our portfolio, opening us up to new drinkers, new styles and new stories to tell.”
Six Pints, which rebranded to Six Pints Collective from Six Pints Specialty Beer Company in 2021, heads into 2022 with a clearer message: “We want to get more people to love beer because we believe strongly in the category. As an industry, sometimes I think we’ve forgotten to tell everyone why it’s so great,” Lundberg says.
“We want to make sure we as a company continue to bring generation after generation into beer by introducing it in a way that makes the most sense for them,” he says. “And craft plays a really important role.”