Can Shortage Lets Up But Some Molson Products Will Go

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The supply of aluminum cans has begun to stabilize after a shortage led to production constraints across the beverage industry in recent months. It may be too late to save some products.

The container scarcity -- particularly of the slim 12-ounce ones favored for hard seltzers and low-calorie drinks -- has led Molson Coors Beverage Co. to rethink its product lineup and determine which are worth hanging onto, according to Chief Executive Officer Gavin Hattersley.

“The can shortage in the coronavirus pandemic forced us into making decisions around slow-moving brands,” he said Thursday on a conference call to discuss quarterly earnings. “I would expect some of those SKUs won’t come back.”

The beer giant joins other food and beverage companies pruning their offerings during the pandemic, as customers stock up on trusted names and manufacturers prioritize top-selling products. While Hattersley didn’t specify which items could be on the chopping block, he said Molson is likely to have fewer products “when we come out of this pandemic than we did coming into the pandemic.”

That’s despite a push to move “beyond beer” with new items like cannabis drinks and hard seltzer. Molson will focus on its most promising products, from its core brands like Coors Light to new innovations like Vizzy and Blue Moon LightSky.

Manufacturers have grappled with a shortage of cans driven by bar closures -- forcing more consumers to drink from cans than draft -- and heightened demand for products such as hard seltzer.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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