For many U.S. beer companies, sales are still good, but they are nowhere near as dominant as they have been in the past. The beverage sector is getting crowded, and, with Millennials drinking more wine and craft beers, big-name beer companies are feeling the squeeze. One of the companies that appears to be hurting, based on recent numbers, is Molson Coors.
Molson Coors owns and distributes the brands Coors, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Molson Canadian and Blue Moon. The company recently had to admit a fall in sales numbers, something that was a bit of a surprise to some analysts. According the Molson Coors, sales were down across all markets in the United States, Canada and Europe. This surprised analysts, because they were expecting an increase in revenue, certainly not a loss, especially in the quarter that included the Super Bowl.
When the news was reported, stock quickly fell about 13 percent, bringing shares of Molson Coors down a total of 25 percent this year so far. Wall Street placing the blame for this not on the customers or the shifting consumer market, but squarely on the shoulders of the company.
A combination of new ordering technology and not enough beer being shipped out of breweries combined to limit the availability on the shelves, regardless of the appetite in the general public. Instead of fessing up and making positive changes, Molson Coors opted to blame … … … the weather. Yes, it was the “unusually cold winter” that kept Coors from making it to the market. This “reasoning” made no mention of why and how competitors such as Anheuser-Busch managed to get their products to market.
Some are saying the “real” culprit is the lack of interest in the NFL this year. The Super Bowl is a huge day for beer sales, and it’s true that sales were a bit off this year. But that hardly accounts for the Molson Coors shortfall. And, when you look at the numbers posted by companies that sell Corona and others, they had a pretty good first quarter. As did many different wineries, despite that industry’s recent issues with supply.
So, all things considered, the issue Molson Coors may be having is one of image and popularity. The consumer public, presented with many different options, is choosing “something else” more than they used to. It doesn’t help that Molson Coors struggled to get their product to market. When the choice is between an empty spot or another brand, most beer drinkers will give “something else” a shot.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5W Public