Molson Coors Beverage Company has entered into an agreement with The Coca-Cola Company to bring Topo Chico Hard Seltzer to key markets in the U.S. starting early next year, the companies said today.
Under terms of the exclusive agreement between the two beverage giants, Molson Coors will manufacture, market and distribute to the U.S. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, which initially will be available in variety 12-packs containing four flavors: Tangy Lemon Lime, Exotic Pineapple, Strawberry Guava and Tropical Mango.
Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is inspired by Topo Chico sparkling mineral water, a 125-year-old Mexican brand popular with consumers across the United States, including many mixologists. It will begin rolling out in the first half of 2021, with a scaled national launch prioritizing select markets where Topo Chico is best known. The production and packaging of the products initially will be handled by a third party.
The hard seltzer, which checks in at 4.7% alcohol by volume, blends sparkling water, a gluten-free alcohol base and natural flavors (inside.beer, 12.8.2020).
“Building on the incredibly successful launches of Vizzy and Coors Seltzer earlier this year, we are thrilled that Molson Coors will launch Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in 2021,” said Gavin Hattersley, CEO of Molson Coors. “This is another significant step in growing our above-premium portfolio and becoming a major competitor in the rapidly growing hard seltzer segment, both key components of our revitalization plan.”
The hard seltzer represents the third hard seltzer brand in the Molson Coors portfolio, joining Vizzy and Coors Seltzer, both of which launched this year.
Vizzy, which is made with antioxidant vitamin C, launched in April and has been on fire, appearing on Nielsen’s Top 10 Growth Brands list for seven consecutive weeks through Sept. 19, the latest date for which data are available. Early returns for Coors Seltzer, meanwhile, have exceeded expectations and the company has said that it thinks the brand can be the leading hard seltzer from a popular beer brand in the segment.
Molson Coors also plans to launch a premium hard seltzer called Proof Point early next year to further augment its hard seltzer portfolio.
“Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will strengthen our presence in above premium and help us drive scale in hard seltzers with a portfolio approach,” said Molson Coors Chief Marketing Officer Michelle St. Jacques, in a note to employees. “We are positioning Vizzy to lead the better-for-you space, aiming for Coors Seltzer to become the No. 1 beer brand in the segment, and launching Proof Point to lead with premium ingredients like real spirits. We believe Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will support this approach as a known and loved brand with a big following in a number of major markets.”
Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, which announced the hard seltzer version of Topo Chico to much fanfare this summer (inside.beer, 12.8.2020), acquired the brand in 2017. It already has launched the hard seltzer in Mexico and Brazil. In the U.S., it opted to forge a relationship with Molson Coors to allow for it to quickly launch and distribute at an accelerated pace.
“The Coca-Cola Company and Molson Coors have a shared passion for building and enhancing some of the world’s most beloved brands,” said Dan White, vice president of strategic initiatives at The Coca-Cola Company. “In bringing Topo Chico Hard Seltzer to market, our focus is speed, quality and efficiency. Our relationship with Molson Coors Beverage Company allows Topo Chico Hard Seltzer to launch with scale, at an accelerated pace, delivering a product that consumers will love.”
The agreement marks the latest in a series of steps Molson Coors has made in 2020 to grow its business by solidifying its core brands, growing its portfolio of above-premium beverages, investing in its core capabilities and continuing its expansion beyond the beer aisle, Hattersley said.
This month alone Molson Coors unveiled a joint venture to expand Yuengling beer beyond its East Coast footprint for the first time (inside.beer, 15.9.2020), as well as a slate of new non-alcohol beverages in partnership with beverage incubator L.A. Libations, in which it holds a minority stake (inside.beer, 10.09.2020).
“We’re thinking differently about how we can grow our businesses during a time of tremendous change in the beverage industry,” Hattersley said. “And we’re just getting started.”