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Beer & beyond: Why Molson Coors is finding new ways to support its customers

This content item was originally published on www.morningadvertiser.co.uk, a William Reed online publication.

By Martyn Cozens, UK on-trade director at Molson Coors

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Spirits, Cocktails, Beer

It’s been a testing couple of years for the hospitality sector and, as we emerge from the pandemic and face other economic challenges, there’s never been a more important time for pubs and their suppliers to support each other.

As one of the largest brewers in the UK on-trade, at Molson Coors we know how important it is to tap into our people and expertise to provide more to our clients than the great drinks they pour. Identifying where we can add more value demands continuous engagement with our customers to understand their challenges, spot opportunities to drive sales and operate more efficiently and make the most of our depth and breadth of consumer intelligence to help guide them in the range they offer.

Customer intelligence

We’re continuously striving to know and understand our customers through extensive research programmes. We conduct regular surveys among our customers, speaking to over 1000 independent operators. 

We also partner with customer relationship analysts at Advantage Group International who produce an annual Advantage Report. In their latest report, we were ranked number one brewer, a testament to the market leading customer support our people provide – the level of service they offer and the depth of technical expertise they bring to the table.

Our research programmes allow us to keep us tuned into the challenges the on-trade face, enabling us to add value beyond beverages.

Rising energy costs

We know that energy costs are a huge concern for pubs and bars at the moment.  Customers tell us that, alongside pure cost, it’s the time and knowledge needed to negotiate new energy deals that the sector is struggling with.

That’s why we’ve set up a new partnership with Great Annual Savings Group (GAS), an organisation that supports businesses to negotiate better deals on gas, power and other utilities. They work with all the major energy providers and have a track record of securing lower cost energy supply agreements that independent venues may otherwise not have access to.

By connecting our customers to this support, we’re helping them to address one of the most immediate and prohibitive challenges hospitality businesses face currently.

Beyond beer

Being a trusted expert to our on-trade customers, and helping them navigate these emerging trends, is one of the main drivers behind the launch of our Beverage Hub, a division in our business dedicated to identifying drinks trends beyond beer and cider and discovering exciting brands that can help our customers tap into new consumer behaviours.

Our aim is to be a first-choice partner to our customers, providing them with access to everything they need to offer a complete drinks range, and delivering guidance, based on our consumer intelligence, on the products that will work best for them.

For example, the ready-to-drink cocktails category has almost doubled in value in the UK in five years[1]​ and our partner Miami Cocktail Company has a spritz range that delivers on this, with a host of different options for consumers to choose from, including Margarita, Paloma, Mimosa, Sangria and Bellini.

Over the past year we’ve established exclusive distribution deals with coffee brand Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, Southwester Distillery with brands including Tarquin’s Gin and Twin Fin Rum, Bodega Bay hard seltzers, and mixer-maker Lixir Drinks. That’s alongside partnerships with the Miami Cocktail Company, distributing their range of ready-to-drink cans across the UK. We’ve also launched our own hard seltzer brand, Three Fold, to tap into the potential of this category – which, by summer 2021, had increased in value more than eight-fold in the space of twelve months[2]​ 

Three Fold comes in three fruity variants – Red Berries, Tropical and Citrus – and is naturally vegan and gluten free, containing 93 calories per 330ml can. 

A multimillion-pound marketing campaign to support the Three Fold brand is already underway and the brand is already proving popular, with Three Fold being named as a Product of the Year winner in the hard seltzer category by Kantar.

The perfect serve

Our latest endeavour – a distribution deal with garnish creator Mixologist’s Garden – is another step in our efforts to help operators create the perfect serve.

Research we commissioned showed that most (88%) on-trade consumers will pay more for a perfect serve – including an attractive garnish – but that a range of barriers, including cost of fresh fruit, wastage and lack of storage space, prevent a lot of pubs from offering this to their customers[3]​.

So, we’ve agreed a UK on-trade exclusive deal to distribute Mixologist’s Garden’s innovative freeze-dried, cocktail-ready berry and citrus garnishes to help. Its technique of freeze-drying fresh fruit means garnishes kept behind the bar have a dramatically longer shelf-life without sacrificing flavour or presentation.

After the challenges the sector has weathered over the past two years, we want to play our role in helping our brilliant and unique hospitality industry navigate what comes next. That will always start with providing an award-winning range of beverages and great customer service, but we are always seeking new ways to add value and provide a wider package of advice and support in driving sales and efficiencies as we navigate these still choppy waters together.

To find out how Molson Coors and help grow your hospitality business, contact aogpneqvss@zbyfbapbbef.pbz

[1]​ Wine and Spirit Trade Association Market Report 2021

[2]​ IRI, MAT 19th June, Value Sales Total Outlets

[3]​ Project Harvest Insight Report, May 2021

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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