Paul Hill talks to Alpesh Mistry, director of off-trade sales at Molson Coors about their plans for the wholesale channel

How has Molson Coors helped wholesalers grow sales in the past 12 months?

Wholesalers have demanding and time-intensive jobs. That is why we introduced our 60 Second Shop, an online programme designed to share best practice, consumer insights and sales advice in bite-sized nuggets. We’re continually updating it to reflect market trends, to ensure wholesalers remain the first port of call in a rapidly evolving industry.

What is the greatest challenge the wholesale industry faces?

The alcohol industry is steered by consumer demand but, historically, wholesalers have been cautious to adapt due to the impact of stock changes on their business. By responding more quickly to consumer trends, wholesalers can reduce the risk of store owners seeking alternative suppliers. This is key when the competition is high.

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What trends and opportunities are emerging that customers can take advantage of?

The rising popularity of craft beer is exciting. In the past two years, the value of craft beer has nearly doubled, and brands such as Blue Moon play straight into this trend.

While demand for premium and unique options are driving growth, mainstream brands like Carling remain the heartbeat of the sector, making up 43.1% of the beer category, and should not be overlooked by our customers.

What challenges has Molson Coors had to overcome in the past year?

Industry flux and market consolidation have brought challenges and opportunities. We’ve adapted the way we work with partners to ensure we’re offering the right service for them.

For example, shopper habits are evolving, with consumers opting for more frequent, smaller shops over the traditional weekly shop. As a result, it’s now more difficult to track shoppers because they shop in a lot of locations, rather than one supermarket. We’ve been looking at how we can better support wholesalers to stay ahead of the curve on purchasing behaviour.

What is Molson Coors’s greatest achievement in the past year?

The addition of Aspall Cyder to our portfolio was a huge achievement for us. Its growing visibility in wholesale portfolios has had a significant impact on cider sales, in both value
and volume growth, with trade up year on year.

What would you like to see happen in wholesale in the next 12 months?

Wholesalers should be more open to seizing the opportunities to diversify their offering. Operational change can come with an element of risk, but it can also put you ahead of the competition and safeguard the future of your business. Wholesalers also shouldn’t be afraid to lean on their suppliers for guidance.

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Is Molson Coors planning any activity wholesalers should be aware of?

In delivering our First Choice for Customer and Consumer agenda, we have some exciting new launches and activations across key brands. One I can’t wait for is Pravha, which is launching across the trade this month, following its huge success in on-trade.

What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales in the beer and cider category?

Wholesalers can create the best possible experience for customers by embracing market change. It’s all about balancing new and unusual options, while maintaining the drumbeat of long-standing favourites.

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