Leinenkugel’s, Hop Valley boosted by on-premise return

Bars and restaurants are back and drinkers are snapping up beers from two of Molson Coors’ leading craft brands: Leinenkugel’s and Hop Valley.

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, a staple of summertime soirees for 15 years, is back in a big way. The Chippewa Falls, Wisc. brewery’s workhorse is up 13% in 2021, helped by the return of the on-premise and two new wingmen: Lemon Haze IPA and Session Helles.

And Hop Valley, which made its national debut in April with Bubble Stash IPA and its 12-pack Stash Pack variety pack, is off to a fast start, already rounding up a 1 share of the U.S. craft market with volume up nearly 13% year-to-date, according to distributor sales data.

Following the challenges of 2020, Molson Coors’ U.S. craft beer portfolio is back to growth, underscoring the importance of the on-premise to the segment.

“I always tell people: Believe in beer,” says John Leinenkugel, beer merchant for Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. 

“We had a tough year in 2020, but with more outdoor occasions, brands like Leinenkugel’s are coming back strong.

“As bars and restaurants continue to reopen throughout the summer, there’s a great opportunity for Summer Shandy.

“When you have a brand the size of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy and the opportunity that it represents, and it’s still growing after 15 years and people still get excited about this brand, you know you’re onto something.”

Along with its momentum in the on-premise, Summer Shandy also been helped by sales of 16-ounce cans, he says, illustrating how craft drinkers’ migration to cans continues to have an impact. 

Meanwhile, Summer Shandy has always thrived when outdoor drinking occasions are aplenty.

And two new additions to its reinvented portfolio, the easy-drinking Session Helles and its first entry into IPA, Lemon Haze IPA, have helped lift the franchise. When those brands are sold alongside Summer Shandy in the off-premise, Summer Shandy receives a 40% lift in sales velocity, Leinenkugel says.

Hop Valley, meanwhile, is flying off the shelves in key markets, ranking as the No. 1 new craft brewer in seven states, including Illinois, Florida and Wisconsin, according to IRI data. 

It’s the top new craft brand in the Southeast, Northeast and Great Lakes regions, data show, and continues to post solid growth numbers while eclipsing sales of competitors that have long had a visible national footprint.

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