Molson ices U.S.

Labatt Breweries of Canada continues, in its advertising, to protest to Canadian beer drinkers that Labatt Ice is Canada's only true ice beer.But rival Molson Breweries, the object of the Labatt ads which are critical of what Labatt terms imitation ice...

Labatt Breweries of Canada continues, in its advertising, to protest to Canadian beer drinkers that Labatt Ice is Canada’s only true ice beer.

But rival Molson Breweries, the object of the Labatt ads which are critical of what Labatt terms imitation ice beers – Molson makes Molson Canadian Ice and Black Ice – will not have to fend off such accusations south of the border.

Freda Colbourn, Toronto-based Molson’s communications manager, says Molson will be the only ice beer available in the u.s., where the brewer will soon begin testing a new brand called Molson Ice.

Molson already markets three Molson-branded brews in the u.s.: Molson Golden, Molson Light and Molson Dry.

In the u.s., Molson is primarily a super–premium brand, second in market share volume only to Heineken.

Colbourn says, initially, Molson Ice will appear only in Michigan and Georgia, but adds if the test is successful it will be rolled out nationally.

She says the decision to expand the ice concept into the u.s. resulted from growing interest among beer drinkers living in border states.

‘People in the u.s. saw the brand advertised during the hockey games, so they began asking for it in their beer outlets,’ Colbourn says.

She says Molson Ice’s positioning will be built around its ‘refreshing nature.’

Meanwhile, back on the home front, Molson has added a pair of line extensions to its discount-priced Carling and Carling Light brands.

The new Carling brews, which are being launched first in Ontario, are Carling Original Draft, a cold-filtered packaged draft beer, and Carling Ice, a 5.5% ice-brewed beer.

A 12-pack will sell for $12.50, about $2 less than regular price beer.

Colbourn says it is unclear what portion of Canadian beer drinkers will eventually become regular buyers of discount brands, but she says Molson believes the best way to market beer in a discount segment is to create an identifiable brand family offering a wide selection of beer types.

Advertising for Carling will appear in newspapers and on radio and tv.

Ad agency is Toronto’s Foote Cone Belding.