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Molson Coors Is Gaining Ground – Is This Trouble for Smaller Brewers?

on 16/02/14 at 10:25 pm


imagesThere were plenty of points in Molson Coors‘ 2013 results that look bleak for the company. But sales of its so-called “above-premium beers” was not among them. In fact, Molson Coors is recording some impressive sales numbers at the higher end, where it competes with smaller brewers, including Boston Beer and the Craft Brew Alliance , as well as crafty offerings from Anheuser-Busch InBev.

How good were the company’s numbers at the higher end? Sales of above-premium brands were up by double digits around the globe, Molson Coors reported Thursday. What’s more, its high-end beers accounted for 29% of all growth in the U.S. craft beer market last year, according to the company.

That’s right. Despite a new brewer opening up almost every day in the U.S., Molson Coors accounts for nearly one of every three additional brews sold at the craft-brew level.

While it’s certainly debatable as to whether Molson Coors can claim that brands like Blue Moon and Leinenkugel are truly craft — the Brewer’s Association and many craft brew lovers would say they can’t — there’s no debating that these beers compete with craft beers produced by the smaller brewers. And with that kind of growth in an overcrowded market, they are competing very well.