Vizzy Hard Seltzer has been a hit with consumers since its launch in April, and now it’s giving back to one of its core constituencies: the LGBTQ+ community.
The hard seltzer brand today announced a $1 million donation to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization in the United States. The donation, to be made over three years, will directly support HRC’s work to advance social change and to end discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, says Zach Paciorek, associate marketing manager for Vizzy and brand inclusivity lead of Molson Coors’ LGBTQ+ employee resource group, LAGER.
“We’re proud to support HRC in its important work. Vizzy is a brand that celebrates inclusion,” he says. “What’s interesting about the hard seltzer segment is what you hold in your hand says something about you. We want Vizzy to be a brand that conveys who you are and what you believe.”
The donation comes in the middle of LGBT History Month, two days after National Coming Out Day and a little more than 5 years after marriage equality was made legal in the United States.
“LGBTQ equality isn’t a set-and-done thing. It’s still important to have meaningful conversations and champion the cause. There is a lot more work we can do,” Paciorek says.
Molson Coors Beverage Company has long been a supporter of HRC. It has supported events, including its annual National Dinner, and has notched a perfect score on HRC’s equality index for 17 years and running.
“We are incredibly grateful for Vizzy’s support of the Human Rights Campaign’s crucial work,” says Jason Bricker, HRC’s director of corporate relations and development. “Thanks to Vizzy’s generosity, HRC will be able to deepen our work fighting for full equality for all LGBTQ people. Vizzy is showing how brands can demonstrate their true commitment to fighting for causes that matter and providing a true example of a company building inclusivity into its DNA.”
The partnership was built out of a desire to have a broad impact. HRC was a natural choice, says Michael Nordman, Molson Coors’ community affairs director.
“It reflects two things. One, LGBTQ+ consumers are very savvy and look for brands that are supporting causes that are important to them,” Nordman says. “Second, for LAGER, it represents to employees that this is a real commitment from the company. We’re not just talking the talk. We’re walking the walk by making this big donation with a brand that is a big bet for us.”
Vizzy, one of the top five new items in the beer and malt category in 2020 and the fifth-largest hard-seltzer brand, represents Molson Coors’ biggest play in its growing hard seltzer portfolio.
Its sizable donation to HRC is unique because of its extended nature. While alcohol brands increasingly have been supportive of LGBTQ+ causes – there’s an entire genre of beers brewed to support the community, often released around Pride Month in June – they’re often novelty items, opening brands up to accusations of “rainbow washing.”
“Our approach at Molson Coors and Vizzy is to view pride as a year-round activity. We’re showcasing our pride 365 days of the year,” Nordman says. “Consumers expect to see brands show up for equality beyond Pride Month and a recent survey by Community Marketing & Insights showed that 80% of LGBTQ consumers say companies that support LGBTQ equality will get more of their business this year. We wanted to launch this in October to celebrate LGBTQ history month and stand out.”
The beverage maker has made other substantial donations to organizations that support communities in need and social causes this year.
In March, Miller Lite announced a $1 million donation to the Bartender Emergency Assistance Fund to support service workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
And this summer Molson Coors announced it would donate $1.5 million to support organizations dedicated to equality, empowerment, justice and community building. That included the Tenth & Blake Brewing Education Scholarship Fund, which supports people of color and LGBTQ+ students seeking degrees in brewing or fermentation sciences at three universities near Tenth & Blake’s craft breweries.