Molson Coors renews partnership with Heineken

The brewing giant will continue to use the premium portfolio to grow its cider and low-alcohol business.
Heineken Zoeterwoude. (Photo by Jasper Juinen for Heineken)

Molson Coors has renewed its commercialization and distribution partnership with Heineken, giving the brewing giant at least another five years of controlling the portfolio of premium brands in Canada.

The renewal, which lasts until 2025, builds on a partnership that was first established in 1991, prior to the Molson-Coors merger.

Molson Coors will continue to be responsible for commercialization, marketing, sales and distribution of the Heineken, Strongbow, Murphy’s and Newcastle brands, as well as the Dos Equis, Sol, Tecate and Birra Moretti brands that were added to the agreement in 2015.

Molson Coors has a goal of doubling its share in the “super premium” segment, and the partnership will focus on driving growth by finding opportunities to get consumers to trade up to all eight Heineken brands. Expanding distribution, conducting below-the-line programming and communicating credentials with consistency and at the right occasion are deemed “critical” to the growth formula for the two partners.

“[The brands] are beloved all over the world, and it’s up to us to continue to build their relevance and to grow their share in Canada,” says Martin Coyle, chief commercial officer for Molson Coors Canada. Laurent Delmouly, managing director for Heineken Canada, adds that there are also opportunities with new propositions like zero-alcohol Heineken 0.0 or underserved categories like cider.

Molson Coors launched Heineken 0.0 in Canada in 2018, since claiming 20% of the non-alcoholic beer market. Strongbow has also held onto its spot as the country’s number one cider brand, the growth of Sol and Birra Moretti has accelerated by double-digits and Heineken Original has grown year-over-year. This is despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in Heineken’s net revenue declining by 16.4% for the first half of this year globally.

To help build its relevance and accelerate its growth in the Canadian market, Heineken named Publicis Worldwide its lead agency in June, tasked with the brand’s creative and strategy across all channels.