Molson Coors wants to make ‘Miller Time’ cool for millennials

It’s Miller Time again, but now it’s for a younger group of legal-age drinkers that may not have thought Miller Lite was a cool beer to drink.

Molson Coors Brewing Co. TAP, -3.24%  announced a revitalization plan with its third-quarter earnings that includes a move from Denver to new North American operational headquarters in Chicago, a modernized brewery in Golden, Co. with a price tag in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and a name change, to Molson Coors Beverage Company. The new name will “better reflect its strategic intent to expand beyond beer into other growth adjacencies,” the company said.

The company will focus on growing its “above-premium” brands, which includes Peroni and Blue Moon, both of which had strong quarters.

But a key goal will be to breathe new life into its iconic brands: Miller Lite and Coors Light.

For Miller Lite, the company has launched a new ad campaign during the World Series that brings together social media and time spent hanging out with friends.

“Our goal within premium lights with our iconic Miller Lite and Coors Light brands through the breakthrough marketing which we’ve developed and would continue to build on along with the additional firepower we’ve got is that we believe we can continue to grow meaningful share in what is a declining segment,” said Gavin Hattersley, Molson Coors chief executive, on the earnings call, according to a FactSet transcript.

For Coors Light, there’s a new campaign, Made to Chill, in the U.S. that Hattersley says is already yielding results.

“[A]fter struggling for years in the U.S., Coors Light is finally gaining segment share and seeing volume improvement under the new campaign,” he said. “And our plan is to put more resources behind breakthrough marketing like this.”

As for the areas “beyond beer” that the company will be focusing on, the company has created a new role, president of the emerging brands, that will be occupied by Pete Marino, and he’ll be responsible for heading up the effort in craft beverages, cannabis, wine and spirits.

“At first glance, we believe this revitalization plan is more likely to be successful on the cost cutting side than in its ability to accelerate topline performance,” wrote MKM Partners’ Bill Kirk in a note following the earnings announcement.

The company says that by simplifying its structure, it will unlock $150 million in savings.

The revitalization plan also includes 400 to 500 job cuts, new senior leadership, and an effort to bring new beverages to market faster.

Molson Coors shares were down 3.3% in Wednesday trading after the company reported earnings and sales that missed expectations.

Molson Coors stock has fallen nearly 6% for 2019 so far while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.29%  is up 21.4% for the period.

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