Molson Coors To Sell Coors Light In Russia

MONTREAL (CP) -- Molson Coors Brewing Company is expanding into the world's fourth-largest beer market with the Russian launch of Coors Light.

The Montreal and Denver-based brewer will begin selling its popular brand in various retail stores, selected bars and neighbourhood locations in the Moscow region in the coming days.

The 330 ml bottles of Coors Light will be brewed by the Moscow Brewing Company at a new facility in the Russian capital. The facility's capacity is expected to gradually increase from 240 million litres to 600 million litres per year.

Molson Coors will manage the marketing and advertising of the Coors Light brand.

Russians consume around 71 litres of beer per capita annually. Total sales of 100 million hectolitres per year make Russia the fourth-largest beer market in the world by volume.

Known for their love of vodka, Russians have warmed to beer, pushing sales to significant growth in the past decade.

International premium brands that are locally produced have gained popularity despite this year's decline due to new taxes.

"We are very optimistic about the future success of Coors Light in Russia as we have put in place all the ingredients required to build a winning brand," said Mauricio Cardenas, chief officer for Latin America, Russia, India and Africa.

He said Molson Coors is working with its Russian team and brewing partner to develop innovative packaging for the brand known for its Rocky Mountain affiliation.

Molson Coors' international strategy is to expand by creating local partnerships and invest to expand the beer's appeal, added Kandy Anand, president of Molson Coors International.

"Our partnership with Moscow Brewing Company in Russia is consistent with this strategy and we are confident in our ability to attract Russian beer drinkers to our special brand and succeed in this large and promising market."

Molson Coors has recently announced partnerships with Mahou San Miguel in Spain, with Viet Thai in Vietnam, and most recently a joint venture with Si'hai Brewery in China.

Coors Light is now available in more than 25 countries worldwide.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Molson Coors shares decreased 10 cents at C$44.80 in afternoon trading.

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