Molson Coors (US)

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Molson Coors was formed in 2005 from the merger of Canadian brewer Molson and the US company Adolph Coors. Until comparatively recently, the latter was merely America's #3 brewer, with virtually no profile outside its domestic market. But in 2001 the company was catapulted into the international big league following its surprise acquisition of the UK's Carling and other beer brands hived out of the former Bass portfolio. Having become the UK's #2 brewer almost overnight, the group went on to negotiate a merger with Molson which bolted on a leading position in Canada. Another significant development came in 2007 with Molson Coors' agreement to combine its US operations with those of rival SABMiller to create MillerCoors, a stronger competitor to local giant Anheuser-Busch (see separate profile). In the wake of AB InBev's break-up bid for SABMiller, Molson Coors took back full control of MillerCoors in Oct 2016. The group's main focus remains on those two markets of North America and the UK, although it also exports to other territories, and established a presence in Eastern Europe in 2012 with the purchase of StarBev.

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Molson Dry Cobra Beer
Carling Reef
Arc Coors Fine Light Beer
Coors Brewers UK Caffrey's

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Jan 2018: Molson Coors added to its UK portfolio with the acquisition of independent cider (and vinegar) brand Aspall for an undisclosed sum. Aspall cyder was first brewed in 1728, and has been owned and run ever since by the founding Chevalier family. According to Molson Coors, "Members of the family will remain part of the business and will play a key role in shaping the strategic direction of Aspall, ensuring that it remains a cornerstone of the surrounding community." Molson Coors' UK portfolio is led by top-selling on-trade lager Carling, but it has until now had only a minimal presence in the cider sector.

Adbrands Weekly Update 31st Aug 2017: Brewer Molson Coors revealed it had reduced the alcohol content of its top-selling UK lager Carling to reduce costs, even though it had not disclosed that fact on the product labels. The information became public at a European tax tribunal where Molson won its appeal against a £50m claim from HM Revenue & Customs for duty payable on alcohol content of 4.0% abv, which is the level advertised on cans and bottles. The company said it had actually reduced the level to 3.7% in 2012, so it should pay less. Duty is levied on a rate by percentage. According to EU law, a 0.5% variation in stated abv is permissible. Molson denies misleading the public over alcohol levels and said media reports had "oversimplified a complex and techical topic".

Adbrands Weekly Update 9th Feb 2017: Molson Coors wrapped up a global review of media, awarding the biggest prize to Publicis Groupe. Its MillerCoors division in the US, now wholly owned following the break-up of SABMiller, appointed a new dedicated unit of Publicis Media to manage the business, previously housed at Initiative. That marks a major gain for Publicis and an equally significant loss for Initiative, worth in excess of $400m in billings. Connect at Publicis Media will be headed by Americas CEO Tim Jones, and will be headquartered in Chicago. However, WPP's Kinetic will continue to oversee out-of-home media, while MEC was reappointed for Molson Coors Canada. In the UK, Publicis-owned Zenith was reappointed to the local business.

Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Oct 2016: As it prepares to take ownership of SABMiller's stake in the US MillerCoors joint venture later this month, Molson Coors called a global review of media. This is currently split three ways. In its biggest market, the US, the account is managed by Initiative, with MEC handling Canada. In the UK, the business is held by ZenithOptimedia. The group is said to be seeking a single network to handle all three markets.

Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Feb 2016: Analysts are hoping that Molson Coors' proposed buyout of MillerCoors in the US later this year will result do something to reignite performance after disappointing figures for 2015 from both businesses. Molson Coors' revenues of $3.6bn were down sharply year-on-year, even at constant exchange rates; volumes, and operating profits and net profits (of $360m) were also all lower than the year before. MillerCoors - soon to be wholly owned by Molson Coors - saw a similar decline in revenues to $7.7bn and in net income to $1.2bn.

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