Beer companies have high hopes for canned cocktails
Brewers continue to face challenges in terms of sales volume, with many large companies seeing flat to negative growth. AB InBev sales volume grew less than 1 percent in 2018—but this growth was cause for celebration after declines in 2015 and 2016 and nearly stagnant volume growth in 2017. Molson Coors global sales volume declined about 2 percent in 2018 compared to a year ago and fell over 3 percent in the U.S. Heineken also saw U.S. sales volume decline in 2018, although stronger sales worldwide offset the loss in the U.S. market. But with disposable income on the rise in the U.S., beer companies would like to keep their spot at the table and maybe even make a little elbow room.
Brewers have learned that premium and innovative products are the path forward. AB InBev sees premium products growing five times faster than the company’s core brands and being twice as profitable, for example. Apart from acquiring craft brands, brewers are exploring other products that may appeal more to younger consumers—such as products with lower alcohol content but interesting taste profiles. Specialty ciders, unsweetened wine spritzers, and canned cocktails should continue to add growth to brewer portfolios. Canned cocktails are especially hot right now, combining bolder flavors with the allure of spirits and providing more transparent calorie content than that Mai Tai at your local tiki bar.
Molson Coors will soon launch Cape Line, its new canned, sparkling cocktails. As with hard seltzers, the alcohol is derived from fermented cane sugar. The drinks are also lightly sweetened but, at 120 calories for 12 ounces, still lower-calorie than regular beer and just 4.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Canned cocktails are hot!
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