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Yuengling and Molson Coors Form JV for Rest of US, Starting in 2d Half 21 – EXPRESS 9/15/20 Most important US deal in 2021 in works for well over a decade in some form, and in this current incarnation for years. This morning, Yuengling and Molson Coors announced a 50-50 JV “to oversee any new market expansion” beyond Yuengling’s existing 22-state footprint (Eastern and Southern US with a little Midwest), starting in 2d half ‘21. Yuengling already sold in 45-46% of US volume, sales veep Pat Pikunas told INSIGHTS, and will continue to run that part of its biz independently of this JV.
“New Day” for Molson Coors, Proclaims Gavin; Yuengling Deal, Innovation, But Supply Chain Tuff – EXPRESS 9/16/20 Molson Coors ceo Gavin Hattersley began co’s virtual fall distributor meeting in Pottsville, PA, flanked by 2 women, Wendy and Jennifer Yuengling. “It’s a new day at Molson Coors,” began Gavin. “We will position our business and yours to lead the industry forward.” Yet “to say this has been a challenging year would be an understatement,” Gavin added, including tragic shooting at Milwaukee brewery, Covid-19 and subsequent on-premise shut-down, “out-of-stocks” on huge brands, and much more. Supply remains tuff, particularly on 12 oz tall cans, but MC is investing “tens of millions” in capital projects to expand seltzer capacity 6x and Blue Moon Light Sky capacity 400%.
Anheuser-Busch Enlists Cascadia Managing Brands for NA Development; Infused Water Seen in Works – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 9/16/20 Looks like Anheuser-Busch InBev has found an incubation partner to help flesh out its NA portfolio. Big brewer confirmed to BBI that it’s enlisted Cascadia Managing Brands of Ramsey, NJ, as development partner on NAs. Cascadia is operated by longtime bev specialists Bob and Bill Sipper, who grew up in biz observing their father Fred operating early new-age house in NY called Mootch & Muck and have had well-traveled careers since then. It’s unclear whether it’s on single project or more encompassing alliance along lines of MolsonCoors’ tie to LA Libations, which just unveiled suite of first 4 brands.
Sierra Big Little Thing Imperial IPA, New Seasonals & Kombuchas in ’21 – CRAFT 9/17/20 The latest “little thing” from Sierra Nevada is…“Big,” at least in ABV. Big Little Thing Imperial IPA, with 9% ABV and 45 IBUs, will rollout nationwide this December in 12oz 6pk cans, draft and 19.2oz cans, joining Sierra’s year-round lineup, co announced yesterday following its first ever virtual Natl Sales Meeting (as many other suppliers do the same). Hazy Little Thing IPA touted as #2 IPA (with aspirations to surpass Lagunitas IPA as #1) and Wild Little Thing “Slightly Sour Ale” is #3 sour in the country currently. Where will Big Little Thing fall within Imperial IPA category? Sierra also launching two new seasonals and 3 new Strainge Beast hard kombuchas in 2021.
Eagle Rock Dist Will Buy 15 Mil CO Cases, Including Steven Busch’s CO Eagle; Soars to 25 Mil Cases – EXPRESS 9/17/20 Turns out Eagle Rock will buy another distrib in CO, on top of big AB branches. Eagle Rock also buying CO Eagle, based in Pueblo and Durango, owned by Steven Busch. All these deals expected to close in Dec. AB CO branches at around 13.2 mil cases, while CO Eagle at 1.9 mil cases, said Eagle Rock ceo Steve Economos. Eagle Rock buying about 95% of AB volume in state, as this deal “more than doubles the size of our company,” noted Steve.
Fleshing Out NA Portfolio, MolsonCoors Takes Minority Stake in Collins’ Zen WTR – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 9/18/20 Just a week ago Molson Coors and its incubation partner LA Libations intro’d a quartet of intriguing early-stage brands in trending categories like probiotic soda and dairy alternatives. Now here comes one that’s definitely ready for big leagues: buzzworthy Zen WTR devised by serial entrepreneur Lance Collins to address plastic backlash with pkg material that’s recycled from ocean environments. MC is taking minority stake in brand – “world’s first beverage using 100%-recycled, certified ocean-bound plastic,” as Emerging Growth prexy Pete Marino announced to distribs this week – and “we will also have a stake in another Lance Collins creation that hasn’t been announced yet,” he shared.
Joyride Sells ‘Craft on Draft’ Distribution Biz to Foodservice Giant Aramark – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 9/18/20 Joyride Coffee has extricated itself from pandemic-caused collapse – in process strengthening commitment of foodservice giant Aramark to “craft on draft” cold-brewed coffee, kombucha and other bevs that Joyride did much to popularize among knowledge workers. NY-based Joyride announced today that it’s set partnership with its existing customer Aramark called “Joyride by Aramark” that will broaden Aramark’s role to include account mgmt, delivery and equipment service for Joyride’s office coffee service business. That will leave Joyride to focus on new strategy as brand marketer and copacker, operating out of plants in NY and Bakersfield, Calif.
Brilliantly Branded WTRMLN WTR, with Star-Studded Investment Roster, Exits to Dominican Republic Juice Player Caribe – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 9/18/20 WTRMLN WTR, which astonished bev biz with its brilliant branding and marketing in early days but struggled with most of its refrigerated cold-pressed peers to keep growing in more recent years, has sold out to Caribe Juice for undisclosed terms. It marks something of a denouement for WTRMLN WTR, which had drawn investments and endorsements from likes of Beyonce, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Michael Strahan and Tony Robbins, as announcement reminded.
Roller Coaster of Expectations: Odell Perseveres, Retools Can Assortment, Eyes 19.2s in 2021 – CRAFT 9/18/20 Odell’s rollercoaster year will likely net out flat in 2020, ceo Eric Smith shared with CBN. After initial hit from Covid-19, in mid-summer Odell’s off-premise biz was flyin’ and co was actually “on pace to get back to our original budgets,” up high singles for the year. “Then the can shortage hit us hard” and while doing “everything we can do to adjust,” all signs point to flat again, Eric said. But Odell has lots cookin’ as it closes out 2020 and looks ahead, leaning in on triple-digit growth of Mountain Standard hazy IPA and Sippin’ Pretty Session Sour, plus solid growth of core Odell IPA and 90 Schilling Ale, new RTD canned wines and AllKind hard kombucha initiatives and more.
Lotsa New Pabst Seltzers/FMBs in ’21; More Hard Coffees; Hard Tea Seltzer; Stronger Seltzer 12pks; Regional Seltzers – EXPRESS 9/18/20 Pabst is leaning into seltzer/fmb extensions like never before in 2021, INSIGHTS has learned. Pabst lookin’ to extend hard coffee into various flavors like cold brew and vanilla late next yr, with several other flavor possibilities as well, lookin’ to build hard coffee into a true category, Pabst told distribs. Pabst Tea Seltzer will launch as well, seemingly in same vein as Boston Beer’s Truly Iced Tea hard seltzer, likely at lower price point. Pabst Stronger Seltzer will launch variety 12pk to build off this yr’s launch in single-serve 16oz cans. And co will launch regional hard seltzers thru its various regional brands including Lone Star Agave hard seltzer in TX, Rainier hard seltzer in PacNW, and more “affordable” Schlitz hard seltzer testing next yr.
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