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Exclusive: Molson Coors is launching its first-ever zero-proof cocktail

<i>Molson Coors Beverage Company</i><br/>
Molson Coors Beverage Company
"Roxie" is the company's first-ever zero-proof canned cocktail. The drink is sold exclusively online beginning Tuesday.

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

Molson Coors is typically known for its lineup of beers and booze, but its newest drink isn’t either.

Enter “Roxie,” the company’s first-ever zero-proof canned cocktail sold exclusively online beginning Tuesday. Its arrival comes as Molson Coors broadens its portfolio beyond beer and expands into new growth categories that are sparking consumers’ interest, including canned cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.

“We know a lot of consumers are starting to either moderate or temper and think about their consumption habits,” Jamie Wideman, vice president of innovation for Molson Coors exclusively told CNN. “We wanted to have a product that fits that occasion and allow consumers to ‘stay in the moment’ while they are drinking their favorite alcoholic beverage, but can also vacillate between an alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage as well,” she added.

Roxie is available in three flavors: Passionfruit, pineapple and mango. The 12-ounce drinks, which can be poured over ice or sipped from the can, are sold in a variety flavor pack with 12 cans for $43 or a 4-pack with one flavor for $18.

Molson Coors’ research said consumers wanted a drink that wasn’t a non-alcoholic version of an existing cocktail (i.e a no-jito or faux-groni), Wideman said, prompting the company to develop a drink with “layered, intriguing, complex flavors” that also “mirrors some of the craft cocktail experience.”

Despite its fruity flavors, Wideman said Roxie isn’t just a juice or soda.

“When you taste Roxie, you will know at your first sip that this isn’t juice. As we designed it, we were really intentional about using those familiar and as well as maybe not so familiar and intriguing flavors, like cardamom or lemongrass,” she said.

Roxie’s entrance comes as more consumers are buying non- and low-alcoholic beverages. Sales of that category rose 15% last year according to a report released Monday from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

Brandy Rand, IWSR’s chief strategy officer, told CNN that she is “not surprised” that a traditional beer company is moving into this space.

“It’s a convergence of two fast-growing segments within the beverage alcohol space that have a lot of runway for growth: Zero proof and canned cocktails,” Rand told CNN. “People want better non-alcoholic options without sacrificing flavor.”

Molson Coors’ pivot

Roxie is the company’s biggest gamble in the non-alcoholic space this year, with its lineup in the United States consisting of two zero-proof beers (Coors Edge and a soon-to-launch Peroni 0.0) and Zoa energy drink. It has also found success in the canned cocktail category with Topo Chico hard seltzer and Topo Chico Spirited, a liquor-based beverage.

The company’s direction beyond traditional beer stems from a 2019 decision to rebrand itself from Molson Coors Brewing Company to Molson Coors Beverage Company as a result of declining beer sales.

Monday’s IWSR report revealed that beer sales fell 2% last year, primarily affecting lower-end brands. However, premium brands and imports, led by Mexican lagers, showed a 4% increase in sales.

Despite waning interest in beer and consumers — particularly younger ones — drinking less alcohol than they have in the past, Wideman said that Molson Coors’ broad product lineup will help secure the brand’s future, including Roxie.

“There are needs that aren’t being met of more consumers, and we want to keep more consumers coming in to our portfolio,” she said. “These are the types of strategic directions that we have to take to think about the future.”

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