- Molson Coors and Coca-Cola are adding a new beverage through their partnership with the launch of Peace Hard Tea.
- The 5% alcohol-by-volume offering, which will make its debut in September 2023, will be available in three flavors: Freedom of Peach, Really Really Razzy and More Peace More Lemon.
- Coca-Cola and Molson Coors first teamed up in 2020 to create Topo Chico Hard Seltzer. The beverage giants have since taken other Coca-Cola brands into the alcohol category, including chilled juice brand Simply.
What started out with the launch of Topo Chico Hard Seltzer just a few years ago has seen Molson Coors and Coca-Cola rapidly grow their nascent partnership.
What’s notable about the latest launch is that the companies are eschewing Coca-Cola’s national tea brand Gold Peak, and turning to regional brand in Peace Tea. The reason they are selecting Peace Tea appears to be largely in how Coca-Cola positions and markets the two brands.
Unlike Gold Peak, which focuses on traditional tea through more conventional extensions and names, the fruit-forward Peace Tea is known for its “vibrant flavors and free-spirited branding,” the company said, which has proven to be especially popular among legal-age Gen Z consumers, particularly in the Southeastern U.S.
It’s those same young consumers that are being targeted with the hard tea launch so it makes sense to tap into the brand equity and reputation of the smaller Peace Tea brand.
“Peace Hard Tea comes with a distinct point of view, amazing flavors and incredible branding to build something new and exciting in the alcohol aisle,” Amanda Devore, Molson Coors’ marketing director for innovation, said in a blog post. “The hard tea category continues to grow double digits year over year, and we think there’s a huge opportunity.”
Hard Tea is growing faster than any other beer alternative segment, according to Molson Coors. The global hard tea market is expected to register a compound annual growth rate of 25.25%, with sales hitting $19 billion in 2032 from $2 billion a year ago, data provided by the company showed.
The product will be sold in 24-ounce cans in convenience stores in select U.S. regions when it debuts later this year.
Peace Hard Tea will find itself going up against other players in the fast-growing category.
Anheuser-Busch purchased Hoop Tea, a Maryland-based beverage company known for its tea-infused malt beverages and seltzers, in 2021. Boston Beer currently dominates hard tea with its Twisted Tea, which the company said was the top growth brand in all of beer in 2022 and increased its lead as No. 1 flavored malt beverage by more than 8 volume share points during the period.
Molson Coors noted that while Twisted Tea is “far and away the segment leader,” Peace Hard Tea’s entrance into the growing market is a “sign of the opportunity.” Hard tea dominates in convenience stores, where it owns a 26 share of flavored alcohol beverage sales, according to Circana provided by Molson Coors.