Anheuser-Busch acquires Hoop Tea alcoholic beverage brand

Dive brief:

  • Anheuser-Busch bought Hoop Tea, a Maryland-based beverage company known for its malt beverages and tea-infused seltzer, the companies said in a statement.
  • Hoop Tea will be led by Founder and CEO Danny Robinson, who has joined Anheuser-Busch. Terms of the contract are not disclosed.
  • Hoop Tea will join Anheuser-Busch’s Beyond Beer portfolio, which includes brands such as Cutwater Spirits, Babe Wine and Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer. The segment has generated more than $ 1 billion in revenue over the past three years, the company said, citing IRI data.

Dive overview:

Anheuser-Busch built its foundation on beer, but more of its future centers on a portfolio that goes beyond its roots.

This is a similar strategy to that used by rival Molson Coors, who has become an expert on energy drinks, drinks with THC, hard soda and natural diet sodas as he prepares to ” fundamentally change ”its portfolio amid a rapid change in consumer tastes and preferences. Molson Coors is targeting $ 1 billion in revenue from its emerging growth brands by 2023.

While beer sales have slowed in recent years, alcohol companies have added drinks to the mix that encompass a diverse range of beverages. From Hiball sparkling energy water to Cutwater canned cocktails, Anheuser-Busch has shown that it stays largely close to what it does well with alcohol, but isn’t afraid to branch out into other categories.

Fabricio Zonzini, president of Beyond Beer at Anheuser-Busch, says Forbes last year the unit was established around 2018 to build a portfolio around Seltzer; wines and spirits, malt-based and non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about the consumer, looking at consumers first and trying to look at needs that our wallet doesn’t meet, or needs that consumers didn’t even know they wanted,” which we then strive to anticipate and provide, ” Zonzini told Forbes. “There is a huge world outside of beer, and it’s a big part of our business strategy to generate growth from the Beyond Beer segment. ”

Hoop Tea adds a new offering to this portfolio, competing in the hard tea category.

Boston Beer currently dominates hard tea with its Twisted Tea, which holds between 90% and 95% of the market, the company said in its earnings call last month. CEO Dave Burwick said of the top 25 beer brands, Twisted Tea is the second fastest growing so far this year. Boston Beer recently launched Twisted Tea Light, which contains 109 calories.

Thanks to Anheuser-Busch’s experience in the hard salt segment, it A relatively late entry, the brewer knows he can still make significant inroads against established leaders in the category with his deep pockets, marketing expertise and extensive distribution network. Boston Beer’s Truly and Mark Anthony Brands’ White Claw, which together hold around 75% of the category’s market share according to Euromonitor statistics referenced by CNBC, have long dominated hard seltzer. But in the four weeks that included much of July, Bud Light Seltzer accounted for a tenth of hard seltzer sales in the United States.

Anheuser-Busch’s successful track record in hard seltzer, coupled with the presence of Robinson and Hoop Tea vice president Billy Gillman, to develop and grow the brand also bodes well for the deal. Executives not only know the segment, but also know how to establish a brand.

“Join Anheuser-Busch is a perfect fit for us as we share a culture of bold innovation and strategic growth, ”said Robinson of Hoop Tea. said in a statement.

Hoop Tea was created in Ocean City, Maryland. With the laid-back beach culture permeating the brand’s marketing, Hoop Tea, which has gained popularity in the Mid-Atlantic region, could quickly find its way to other parts of the United States under Anheuser– Busch’s stewardship.

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