Coors Announces Beer Iced T

DENVER, Colo.

Molson Coors Brewing announced Wednesday that it will bring a citrus flavored iced-tea and beer blend to market next month.

Coors IceT comes in an aluminum can and contains 4 percent alcohol and will compete with a bevy of new combinations of hard ciders, lemonade, beer and tea. The new brew contains no caffeine.

"Someone else is eating our lunch in the alcohol space," said Peter Swinburn, Molson Coors's chief executive, in a Tuesday meeting with analysts reported by the Wall Street Journal. Swinburn noted that liquor companies have gained market share by introducing sweet flavored concoctions such as Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow Flavored Vodka and Skinnygirl Cocktails.

In announcing a national rollout of its own brand last week Boston Beer Co., maker of Samuel Adams, said sales of its Wicked Tea hard iced tea are outpacing beer. While their base remains small, sales of hard teas and ciders rose 54 percent in 2010.

Next month Anheuser-Busch is launching Michelob Ultra 19th Hole Light Tea and Lemonade. These innovations are spurred by the fact that traditional beer brands are losing out to craft brews and less calorie-laden beverages. Beer Marketer’s Insights reports there are currently 1,900 craft brewers in the U.S. with 800 more planned. Volume in the U.S. has declined the past three years and sales are flat. Domestic consumers purchased nine million fewer barrels of beer last year.

Beer sales worldwide are down .7 percent.

Beer still accounts for half the alcoholic beverages consumed and Anheuser-Bush retains 50 percent share, but liquor companies now own about one third of the beverage alcohol business and have been very successful introducing mixes and flavors. Wine has also grown more popular in the past few years.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Beer Insights

COMMENT