One of the big themes BD will mine this year is the new aggressive approach by non-alcoholic beverage powerhouses to find revenue growth in the alcohol beverage market. What appeared last year to be an experiment is quickly looking like strategy.
Of particular interest now are the divergent paths taken by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Monster Beverage, spurred by the fragmented nature of the US alcohol distribution system.
Coke has quickly expanded its Topo Chico licensing test started a year ago with Molson Coors. That deal now includes Simply, a household name in the chilled juice segment. And Coke has partnered with a second brewer and spirits company, Constellation Brands, to create a canned cocktail headlined by Fresca. In both cases, distribution will be handled by the brewers’ networks.
PepsiCo’s go-to-market strategy couldn’t be more different than Coke’s. The company has opted to build its own alcohol distribution and merchandising network around a flavored malt beverage called Hard Mtn Dew. (Be sure to check out our Blue Cloud map published last month and available only to subscribers.) Boston Beer will develop and produce the drink under license from PepsiCo.
Monster Beverage has chosen yet another path, as you’ll read more about today on page 4. The energy drink maker is buying an entire brewing collective that includes everything from production to an established route to market.
Meanwhile, Keurig Dr Pepper, with money to invest, dropped hints last year that it too has booze on the brain. What path will its leaders chose? You can bet the potential profit pool will be too enticing to resist.
– Duane Stanford, Editor & Publisher
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