The Morning Advertiser recently sat down with the beer behemoth’s on-trade sales director Martyn Cozens at the Berkeley in Knightsbridge, central London, to delve into what makes Molson Coors different to its competitors and what he believes the future holds for the category.
I’m Martyn Cozens and I have the enormous privilege of running the UK and Ireland on-trade business for Molson Coors. I’ve been in the business all my working life. I am responsible for running a front-end sales team, about 400 strong. We’re one of the biggest on-trade sales teams in the industry, if not the biggest.
What makes Molson Coors unique among its competitors?
Our portfolio strategy is what make us stand out. Also, what makes us unique, is our understanding of culture and philosophy around customers. We have an ambition to be first choice for them – understanding the importance of what they want.
In terms of our staff, we invest in people, both in terms of the number of people and the quality of people, to an extent where they can add value to our business. Our staff really get under the skin of what our customers want. They understand what’s important to them and have the capability to go and deliver against that. So, to sum up, it’s the quality of our staff that makes us distinctive from our competition.
What do you enjoy about beer the most?
I love beer – full stop. As a rugby fan from Abergavenny in south Wales, that probably doesn’t come as a surprise. We talk about, in our business, how having a beer is one of life’s simple pleasures – that’s important to recognise and understand. I’ve spent 33 years in the beer industry and it’s a brilliant sector to work in because you end up meeting some fabulous people. I’ve met some of my best friends through work – I even met my wife through it.
What does Molson Coors do in terms of sustainability?
A big part of our focus at Molson Coors has been to be included on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The areas where we have been very focused on is the way in which we use water. It’s a massive part of the brewing process. Because of this, we are continually seeking alternatives and initiatives that can reduce reduction in water usage.
Obviously, plastics is very much on the agenda at the moment. For us, it will continue to be – certainly over the next four to five years. We’re currently taking great measures looking at how we can reduce and eliminate one-time plastics in our supply chain.
Also, with a brand like Sharp’s and Doom Bar – we’ve got a great campaign around supporting clean beaches – using the Sharp’s banner to support that. Overall, we take sustainability very seriously because we recognise how important it is.
What are Molson Coors’s plans for the future?
We will continue to look at how we can keep innovating across our portfolio. I guess some recent examples in the past 12 months or so would be something like Rekorderlig botanicals – that’s a great example of premium innovation.
This year – within the Sharp’s portfolio – we have Atlantic IPA on keg, which is going great guns for us. And then in terms of dispense, we are in the process of trialling, at the moment, the next generation of dispense equipment. Ultimately, it will enable our licensees to save money and serve best-quality beer. The system can remotely monitor the equipment that we can see from our hub in Burton. Is the temperature right? Are the lines clean? Our system is able to proactively address these questions – continuing to drive beer quality in outlets up and down the country.
Also, we now have a partnership with Sky. It gives us the opportunity to offer publicans a 30% discount on their Sky bill in return for stocking Molson Coors brands. It's not only about helping them with the cost of Sky, we’ll also help invest in the quality of the screens and sound systems, so that the visuals and audio qualities are of fantastic quality.
What does the future hold for beer, especially within the on-trade?
That’s a really good question. The one thing that I would say is that, again, beer is one of life’s most simple pleasures. That’s a really important principle to hold on to. If you think about the pub, in particular, it is a uniquely British institution – something not to take for granted. What we have to recognise, as an industry, is the way people are socialising and the expectations they have when it comes to a socialising occasion. What we must understand is, whatever the occasion, whether it’s watching sports or going out for drinks – whatever those occasions are – pubs and us need to recognise that we need to give people an exceptional experience.
Amazing people are fundamental to the industry. So having great pub operators, great pub managers and great bar staff – that are going to give people a brilliant experience – are so important to a successful future. We need to continue to attract better quality people into the sector. I look at markets like Ireland and the US and see the way their hospitality industry is perceived and its ability to attract. We’ve probably got a lot to learn from those kind of countries and we must better market the hospitality industry and pub sector as a career option for people. After all, the future depends on them.