How a drawing of its brewery is helping Molson Coors step up its DTC game

To capture a growing number of ecommerce customers, the brewing giant leans into the reliability that comes with legacy.

Molson Ship and

Beer brewers have been among the most active brands when it comes to pivoting to online to deal with pandemic-related challenges to their business, giving consumers a wealth of new options to try out. But Molson Coors’s DTC platform has been using the brewing giant’s scale and the legacy of its name to offer the convenience and consumer trust to stand above the rest.

First piloted in July, “Ship & Sip” enables Molson Coors’ consumers in Toronto and surrounding parts of the GTA to shop the brewer’s domestically-produced brands for next day delivery, or curbside pickup at the Molson Brewery in Etobicoke.

The impetus of Ship & Sip can be traced to direct-to-consumer ordering for brands in its Six Pints’ portfolio, namely Creemore Springs and Granville Island, which were launched in April to generate revenue and engage consumers when bars and restaurants across Canada shut down due to the pandemic. After working with Shopify to get a piloting Ship & Sip off the ground in ten days with a small group of influencers and small social media buys, the platform has expanded to new areas and grown the selection of products available (Molson Coors says plans for further expansion are not immediate, but that it’s a consideration if it sees demand).

The uncertainty around the stages of the pandemic as cases rise, increases in at-home drinking and Canadians being less inclined to go to bars have led to something of an ecommerce boom in beer and alcohol.

“I think delivery and ecommerce will continue to see a surge in growth,” says Joy Ghosh, North America brand director of Molson and Canadian beer at Molson Coors. “We just want to make sure that we have the best service and capability out there to give consumers more options and continue to build a [good] relationship with them.”

Many beer brands facing the same challenges as Molson Coors have accelerated their own ecommerce experiences in response to the pandemic. Molson has also done many of the same things, adding functionality to all of its major brand websites that will drive consumers to third-party delivery services, as well as investing more into ecommerce marketing to drive to delivery services from retail partners and its own DTC options.

But where Ship & Sip looks to stand out from other options is by building an identity that connects back to Molson’s Toronto brewery.

Ghosh says a lot of consumers may not have initially known that Ship & Sip was actually a part of the Molson Coors’ family. In order to build trust with consumers and stand out from similar offerings, the brand refreshed its identity and experience after the launch to “hero” the brewery and claim the benefits of it.

“You get some of the freshest beer you can, directly from our brewery, and it gets shipped to your door the next day. That’s something consumers may not get from other delivery experiences,” Ghosh says. He adds that while building consumer trust over virtual platforms can be challenging, building on the equity and heritage of the Molson name provides some assistance there as well.

shipandsip“Most people [in the GTA] are aware of our brewery at the 401 – they’ve seen it in some form or fashion,” he says. With Ship & Sip’s main banner paying homage to the brewery, showing an animated mock-up of the landmark with the Toronto skyline in the background, “you build that connection more immediately.” 

In the months since Ship & Sip launched, Molson Coors has had triple-digit growth in online sales and order numbers, with Coors Light, Molson Canadian and Belgian Moon performing particularly strong. Nearly 80% of Ship & Sip site users are accessing the platform by mobile devices, which has also resulted in the company optimizing the platform for mobile.

The animated Molson brewery and its delivery trucks appeared in social ads used to promote Ship & Sip and its next-day delivery option. It has also driven traffic to the site through offering limited edition productions exclusively through the site, such as Belgian Moon glasses and hockey-themed Molson Canadian packs, running a stunt where NHL alumni made the deliveries to fans.

Using the Molson legacy in Canada to help drive beer sales during the pandemic was also a theme of a campaign the company ran in the summer, when it sold brands owned by other Canadian companies in the “Canadian Case.”