Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Molson Coors' Ale Agenda


I notice from today's beer press that multinational brewer, Molson-Coors have consolidated last week's £20 million acquisition of Cornish Brewer, Sharp's by announcing the launch of a range of their own brand guest ales over the course of the coming year.

The move, which can be interpreted as further proof of Molson-Coors seriousness about building up an ale profile and achieving increased market share within this growing sector, will see 16 different beers being available. Included in these will be four seasonal beers from the Worthington range as well  sports event one offs and Mitchells and Butlers flavoured ales. I'm not too keen on the sound of the M&B's flavoured ales as the mere suggestion reminds me of Walker's crisps one offs. Anyone up for baked ham and mustard or roast turkey and stuffing beer?

Thought not.

I have my concerns about big beer co's trying to go for a slice of the cask cake and I dont think they are doing it for the love of the ale but, instead, as Coors Sales Director Simon Cox says, the introduction of these beers "is the perfect addition for any business looking to increase profitability and footfall." The bottom line it would appear is the bottom line.

Had it been another multinational then my concerns would be magnified but to be fair to Molson Coors they have maintained the history and brand intergrity of the cask beer that they currently have in their product portfolio, Worthington's White Shield, and I hope that this philosophy is continued with their new beers.

Time will tell whether they are in the cask sector for the duration or whether they are a here today, gone tomorrow beer merchant trying to make a quick buck out of an expanding market.

The ball is in Molson Coors' court and it is now up to them to prove themselves.



  1. Oh my god, private enterprise seeks to make a profit? The bastards. All private enterprise seeks a return on investment, regardless of the size of the enterprise. You really think all those craft micro brewers are doing it for the love of it and not attempting to build a solid business that pays them a wage and provides a return on capital employed?

    Coors are arguably cash-cowing the Doombar brand, as most established brands are acquired for cash-cowing. Coors will provide additional routes to market and shift more of the grog. Whether that reduces brand value or whether the Sharps brand is used for innovation or "stars", is to be seen.

    Brand value is nothing more or less than the brands ability to generate cash.

  2. @cookinglager

    excellent points as always, Cookie.
    As I say in the post - the bottom line is the bottom line. They wouldn't be interested in ale acquisitions if there wasn't the profit there. After all, at the moment the perception is that cask = cash and they no doubt intend to milk this particular cash cow for as much as they can take it for.
    I just hope they make nice tasty beer in the process.

  3. I was shocked initially and thought the worst, being the typical sceptic that I am, but from my point of view a wider distribution of Sharp's excellent beers can only be a good thing.

    From a business point of view who can blame Molson Coors from making such a move? Any savy business man would do the same thing to try and make a few extra quid. I just hope that Molson Coors stick to their word with regards to ensuring that all the Sharp's beers are still brewed at Rock and their insistence on Stuart brewing new and boundary pushing beers.

    Only time will tell I suppose...

  4. I know as geeks we all get excited by Stuart Howe's one-offs and specials, but Sharp's core is Doom Bar and down here in that London Doom Bar has become fairly ubiquitous in bars where the alternatives are Greene King IPA, London Pride, Landlord, Youngs etc. A few years ago it was novel and different; now it's commonplace.It's safe and dull when there's nothing rare/new/interesting on. Fickle creatures aren't we.
    A friend of mine told me at Christmas that the members at his golf club had revolted (mildly no doubt) when the Doom Bar was replaced by Tribute (too much flavour - and by the way also becoming common in London). Nuff said. Except that I'd have said stick with St Austell but get the Proper Job in.
    I don't think we should be surprised that Sharp's has been snapped up. Brewery only (no pub estate weighing it down), growing brand that the punters like, interesting name. It's almost as if it was designed to be built up and sold. Just right for a bigger chain with a supply chain and a marketing budget.
    Cooking Lager, as ever, is spot on. I'm more interested in the White Shield seasonals (hope we see them in ordinary bars). And I'd like to see White Shield bottles back in my local (and huge)Sainsbury's. They disappeared about two years ago.