CHICAGO — Molson Coors has acquired a stake in a company that makes organic aloe vera water, a ready-to-drink vegan shake and more.
The beer maker has announced a multiyear partnership with El Segundo, Calif.-based L.A. Libations that includes a significant investment by Molson Coors in L.A. Libations and category-exclusive access to the company’s services. Molson Coors will also hold two seats on the L.A. Libations board. Started in 2009, L.A. Libation has provided services for brands such as Zico Coconut Water and Body Armor. Its brands include Aloe Gloe, Arriba Chelada and Space Shake.
The move will help Molson Coors expand its portfolio to nonalcohol drinks, according to Pete Marino, president of emerging growth for the Chicago-based company.
“Developing a strong portfolio outside the traditional beer category is an important part of our long-term strategy, and this partnership with L.A. Libations enables us to pursue opportunities in this space without needing an extensive nonalcohol infrastructure,” Marino said. “Their expertise in creating and nurturing brands is especially valuable at a time when much of the growth in the beverage industry is coming from brands and categories that often were nonexistent five years ago.”
L.A. Libations specializes in identifying next-generation emerging beverages, with a focus on health-conscious consumers. The company creates new brands and partners with brands to provide retail selling and in-store execution services. It previously worked with Molson Coors to help expand its Clearly Kombucha brand, which Molson Coors purchased in 2018.
Molson Coors will have a stake in new products launched by L.A. Libations and will have access to brand creation, brand building and consumer insights from the company. Molson Coors can purchase brands created by L.A. Libations in full or hold a financial stake in brands it does not purchase, according to the companies.
“We are honored that Molson Coors has chosen L.A. Libations as their emerging brand partner, and we intend to jointly become a major player in the nonalcohol space,” said Danny Stepper, co-founder and CEO of L.A. Libations. “This strategic partnership with Molson Coors is an important step for our company, brands and partners, as it unlocks access to brand-building capital, capabilities and efficiencies toward utilization of a world-class distribution network.”
Molson Coors announced in October a revitalization plan that included changing its name as of January to Molson Coors Beverage Co. and laying off up to 500 people through consolidations of its offices and leadership teams. The company said it planned to invest in iconic brands and opportunities to grow in the above-premium space; expand beyond beer; and create new digital competencies for commercial functions, system capabilities for supply chain and capabilities for employees.
Other steps toward building a nonalcohol beverage portfolio included the acquisition of Fairfield, Calif.-based Clearly Kombucha, and taking a minority state in Bhakti Inc., a Boulder, Colo.-based chai tea company.
Molson Coors is a global brewer with brands including Coors Light, Coors Banquet, Miller Lite, Molson Canadian, Carling and Blue Moon Belgian White.