Topo Chico leans into century-long brand equity

The Molson Coors/Coca-Cola hard seltzer is coming to Canada aimed at consumers weary of other offerings available.

topo canada image

A Mexican cult beverage with 19th century origins is getting some northern exposure as Molson Coors and Coca-Cola are bringing Topo Chico Hard Seltzer to Canada.

The ready-to-drink beverage is inspired by Topo Chico, a mineral water that has been sourced and bottled in Monterrey at the Cerro del Topo Chico spring since 1895. In 2020, parent company Coca-Cola struck a partnership with Molson Coors to create a hard seltzer version of Topo Chico, which first launched in the U.S. in 2021.

For the Canadian launch this summer, Molson Coors is targeting consumers between legal drinking age and 34 years old who are weary of the seltzer offerings currently available. In addition to great taste, they seek authentic, trustworthy brands with real heritage, something that is a rarity in the category, where many products appear under relatively young brands.

Leslie Malcolm, brand director for seltzer, flavour and emerging growth at Molson Coors, tells strategy everything from the treatment of the logo to the slate silver cans were designed to give the consumer a premium experience, while the lion on the front of the can leans into brand heritage as an acknowledgement of the Mexican province of Nuevo León.

The seltzer’s unique yellow and green materials and packaging also stands out against the white of most competitors within the seltzer and soda sub-segment, Malcolm notes.

topo-chico-imageThe brand will be running programming throughout the summer, developed by its in-house team. It will include in-store sampling, samples given with purchase key above-premium beer brand packs and brand ambassador teams pairing sampling with food and engaging activities to showcase its premium side.

“Our POS assets were designed to convey the heritage of the Topo Chico Hard Seltzer with a weathered background, pennant border to signify the Latin heritage, glass and sweated cans to illustrate the crisp taste, and of course our consumer call to action of ‘Taste Inspired By The Legend,’” says

Molson Coors expects the vodka-based beverage to resonate with Canadians just as well as it has with Americans, as stateside, it has risen to a 4% share of the U.S. market, as per IRI data, the brand says.

It arrives in four flavours: Strawberry Guava, Tangy Lemon Lime, Exotic Pineapple and Tropical Mango. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will be sold in 12-packs of 355-ml cans with all four flavors and 473-ml singles of Tropical Mango and Strawberry Guava. The variety pack and singles will be available in Western and Atlantic provinces, while consumers in Ontario will be able to purchase singles of Strawberry Guava at LCBO locations. The brand also has designs on a Quebec expansion soon.

“The four flavours were carefully chosen firstly based on taste, followed by the optimized consumer reach, so we could ensure there was a flavour for everyone in our hero four flavour mixer pack,” Malcolm says.

Primarily running in Western Canada, programming also includes music and community events and a Topo Chico Corner Store, complete with an eye-catching hero display, an homage to how the mineral water rose to prominence.

The Corner Store will be popping up for sampling activations throughout the summer in BC and Alberta at events like the Vancouver Mural Festival, Brewery and the Beast Calgary, and in high-traffic neighbourhoods.

The Topo Chico Hard Seltzer trademark will look to expand in Canada in the future with more ownable, Latin-inspired innovation to new occasions and to drive trial.

The brand’s media campaign will go live in June. Campaign elements include leaning heavily into digital with Instagram, Reddit, to out-of-home buys with a 93″ mural at the corner of Ossingston and Queen St. in Toronto to ground stencils and wild postings. The brand will also give consumers the opportunity to win some custom branded merch.