By Tonya Garcia, MarketWatch
Hard seltzers had a big year in 2019 and Molson Coors Beverage Co. is looking to capitalize with the launch of Vizzy in March.
Vizzy will be the first hard seltzer made with acerola cherry, according to Gavin Hattersley, chief executive of Molson Coors /zigman2/quotes/205165133/composite TAP -1.02% , who spoke on the fourth-quarter earnings call on Thursday.
Acerola cherry is high in vitamin C.
“[T]here’s no reason to believe that this isn’t going to resonate very well with consumers and particularly that 25-to-39-year-old male and female that choose to drink, but are looking for potentially better choices,” Hattersley said, according to a FactSet transcript.
It’s a category that Molson Coors plans to “aggressively” compete in, though Hattersley didn’t reveal the investment in the launch campaign.
“This is going to be our biggest bet yet on the hard seltzer segment, which we think will reach a couple of billion dollars in sales this year,” he said.
MKM Partners, writing in a Jan. 31 note, quotes Nielsen figures that show the hard seltzer category reached $1.5 billion in off-premise sales in 2019. Off-premise establishments include liquor and grocery stores.
“Molson Coors has been quieter than most in promoting/advertising their seltzer offerings, but Vizzy will attempt to differentiate itself by interestingly leaning on antioxidants in formulation,” analysts wrote.
MKM notes that Molson Coors already has Henry’s Hard Sparkling, Aquarelle Hard Seltzer in Canada, and Spiked Sparkling Water through its acquisition of Atwater Brewery in January.
A UBS report from September 2019 shows that White Claw has the highest brand awareness. Big names including Molson Coors are using their resources to claim some of that buzz.
Constellation Brands Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207737284/composite STZ -1.56% said in January that it will make its biggest single-brand investment ever in the launch of Corona brand hard seltzer.
Boston Beer Co. /zigman2/quotes/205338227/composite SAM +4.06% has the number two hard seltzer, Truly.
And Anheuser Busch /zigman2/quotes/209225053/composite BUD -1.26% has launched Natural Light Seltzer and Bud Light Seltzer. It also has Bon & Viv in its portfolio.