Molson Coors charts aggressive global expansion

From Kazakhstan to South Korea and the Caribbean to Brazil, Molson Coors completed a flurry of deals in 2021, aiming to expand its brands such as Blue Moon Belgian White, Coors Light, Miller Genuine Draft and Staropramen to more consumers around the globe. According to a company statement, the licensing and export agreements will allow Molson Coors to bring production and distribution of its products into new markets, most of which will come online in 2022.

“It shows us there’s a lot of demand for our brands across the world,” says Chris Wensel, Molson Coors’ vice president of Latin American operations.

In Latin America, the company struck agreements in several countries, including Brazil, the world’s third-largest beer market. The deal with Heineken calls for local production of Blue Moon Belgian White, which will begin brewing early this year and is supposed play a crucial role in Heineken’s craft portfolio in the country. The Brazil deal, largely crafted over 18 months of video calls, is the first step to unlocking additional opportunities for Molson Coors brands in that country, Wensel says.

The company also secured deals in the French Caribbean to distribute Coors Light in the islands of Martinique and Guadalupe, and in Costa Rica with FIFCO, the country’s largest brewery. The wave of new agreements is part of a region-wide recovery plan that helped Molson Coors produce strong double-digit growth, Wensel says.  

Molson Coors also expanded its business across Europe and Asia in 2021, securing deals in dozens of countries. Among the most significant was an agreement with a production hub in Vietnam where Blue Moon will be brewed for distribution across the Asia Pacific.

In South Korea, Molson Coors tied up with the country’s top whiskey distributor, Golden Blue, to distribute eight of its brands in that country, including MGD, Coors Light, Carling, Molson Canadian and Praha.

“South Korea is a top-20 beer market, and Golden Blue has the experience to get our brands where they need to be,” says Anita Adam, Molson Coors’ legal and corporate affairs director for export and license. In 2022, the company is looking to build its footprint in South Africa and Australia with two new production hubs, she says.

In Europe, Molson Coors strengthened its position in the Nordic countries, inking licensing deals in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark with Danish brewer Bryggeriet Vestfyen to get brands including MGD, Coors, Staropramen, Blue Moon and Cobra in the hands of consumers.