The pandemic has changed the way the world drinks beer -- maybe for good, according to Molson Coors Beverage Co. Chief Executive Officer Gavin Hattersley.
“There’s no doubt in my mind it will take a very long time to recover to 100 per cent of bars and restaurants, if we ever get back to that level,” Hattersley said Tuesday at an investor conference. And even when establishments do reopen, they will likely stock fewer brands, he said.
Molson Coors, like the rest of the alcohol industry, took a big hit when COVID-19 pushed governments to close bars, restaurants and sports venues. And so far, purchases at retail haven’t come close to filling that hole.
However, the pandemic hasn’t been all bad news for Molson Coors. In general, consumers have favored brands they know well during COVID, and that’s been the case with Miller Lite and Coors Lite. Both beers are “in a really good place,” while growing more than 10 per cent at retail, Hattersley said.
The company’s biggest brands also aren’t losing share to hard seltzer or ready-to-drink beverages, two of the industry’s hottest trends. These categories are instead winning over customers who are new to alcohol, or crossing over from wine, hard spirits or craft beers, he said.
“The big premium lites and import brands, we don’t see much impact there,” Hattersley said.