When Molson Coors Brewing shocked Colorado by announcing in October that it would move its headquarters out of Denver and lay off more than 300 people here, the company also revealed a slew of other corporate changes. One of those was a new name, Molson Coors Beverage, which highlights the fact that the iconic beer maker can no longer focus only on the same old barley-and-hops brew if it wants to remain competitive.
In the past year alone, Molson Coors has begun testing or selling a wide variety of new options, including Movo wine spritzers, La Colombe Hard Cold Brew Coffee, Cap Line Sparkling Cocktails, and a line of cannabis-infused, non-alcoholic beverages (in Canada). It will also continue to push up against craft breweries with nationally distributed,craft-like products like Saint Archer Gold (a lager that was originally brewed by a San Diego craft company that Molson Coors bought in 2015) and Blue Moon Light Sky, a 95-calorie, 4 percent ABV version of Blue Moon that is made with tangerine peel and Azacca hops, which will debut in 2020.
Although the changes appear to include Coors family patriarch Pete Coors retiring from his day-to-day duties, his son David Coors will continue to have a Colorado presence in a new role as vice president of Next Generation Beverages, a part of Molson Coors's new North American Emerging Growth division, which will oversee the development of non-beer beverages, among other things.
Pete Marino, the president of Emerging Growth, declined an interview request from Westword, but said in a statement that David Coors "will lead the development of the next generation of brands for Molson Coors." In addition to directing the company's AC Golden Brewing pilot brewery, which he has been doing for more than a year now, David Coors will also manage "our new wine and spirits businesses and cannabis ventures."
AC Golden, which is located inside the Coors plant in Golden, makes the large lineup of Colorado Native beers, along with Winterfest and a few other smaller-batch beers.
In addition, Marino said that David will continue to be based out of Golden, "where he will build out a team to innovate and develop the next generation of beverages beyond beer."
Emerging Growth (possibly with help from Next Generation) will also oversee cannabis products, the Tenth and Blake division (which handles craft-like products), the Sandlot at Coors Field and the Blue Moon RiNo Brewery (though not the Blue Moon brands), as well as Coors Distributing Company, according to a memo that Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley distributed to employees on October 30.
In his statement, Marino noted, "We’ll be announcing some exciting investments to the RiNo brewery very soon as we expand the footprint of America’s #1 craft beer."
"Colorado is and will remain a critical part of our company’s DNA," he added. "We have brewed our great beers in Colorado for nearly 150 years and we will brew them here for hundreds of years to come, which is why we are planning to invest several hundred million dollars to modernize our Golden brewery."
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