A total of £10m will be invested by the Cobra Beer Partnership, the joint venture between Molson Coors and Cobra founder Karan Bilimoria, over the next three years to establish Cobra Beer's growth potential of ethnic food and beer dining. The dedicated business unit, which follows a deal struck in May this year, has been set up to champion the Cobra brand and encourage improved business performance.
Mark Hunter, chief executive of Molson Coors, said: "The number of on-trade outlets leading with food offers will surpass those wet-led outlets by 2018 and with the off-trade set to overtake the on trade by 20112 as consumers spend more time cooking at home we must be able to offer a relevant and diverse portfolio for all food occasions.
"Beer is a natural partner for a wide range of interesting food styles. The Cobra brand has a unique and iconic status and it's excellent reputation with the ethnic restaurant sector and strong association with exotic spicy food is a key factor behind our investment. We have a wealth of experience with regards to this type of venture and an excellent track record of building brands across all markets.
"This dedicated business unit combines talented people from Molson Coors and Cobra and everyone is united in growing the Cobra brand globally. This is a new chapter and Cobra can move on to the next stage of its brand evolution, whilst also opening up significant opportunities for Molson Coors UK."
With over 9,500 Indian restaurants in the UK, the ethnic restaurant sector is at the heart of the Cobra Beer Partnership's strategy for growth. Food occasions represent a major growth opportunity for beer in both the on and off-trades. Cobra is synonymous with Indian food and presents a great opportunity to grow sales without compromising the existing Molson Coors' portfolio.
Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, said: "We are delighted to be working with Mark Hunter and the Molson Coors team, all of whom are passionate about the Cobra Beer Partnership and committed to the Cobra brand. We look forward to uniting Cobra's heritage and entrepreneurial spirit with the brewing, selling and marketing expertise of a highly successful international brewer. Molson Coors, the global family brewer, has a family ethos at the heart of their business culture which makes a perfect match for Cobra."
Molson Coors' world beer offering also includes Sol, Kasteel Cru, Dos Equis, Blue Moon, Singha and Grolsch Weizen.
Adrian Davey, recently managing dirctor of Coors Off-trade, has been appointed managing director and the Cobra Beer Partnership will be chaired by Lord Karan Bilimoria. The day to day running of the business will be managed by Molson Coors.
Cobra's brewing facilities will move to Burton next February and Molson Coors will continue to brew Cobra to its original Indian recipe, using only the finest natural ingredients including rice and maize. This venture will preserve the brand value of Cobra and its people, with the entire Ethnic Restaurant Sales (ERS) team retained as part of the new Cobra Beer Partnership. The sales team will be headed up by ERS Director Samson Sohail, now in his 17th year with Cobra. The brand will also benefit from Molson Coors' UK and global distribution footprint.