Beam Suntory and Boston Beer join forces

16th July, 2021 by Nicola Carruthers

US firms Beam Suntory and The Boston Beer Company have formed a ‘strategic’ partnership to create Sauza Tequila RTDs and expand hard seltzer brand Truly into the spirits sector.

Sauza spiked sparkling water range

The partnership will expand Sauza Tequila’s RTD offering

As part of the ‘long-term’ collaboration, Beam Suntory’s Sauza Tequila brand will expand into additional RTD formats by leveraging Boston Beer’s expertise, production capabilities and distribution footprint.

Sauza unveiled three canned, RTD spiked sparkling waters in May 2018.

Meanwhile, Boston Beer’s Truly brand, one of the world’s biggest hard seltzers, will move into spirits for the first time, using Beam Suntory’s distilling expertise and ‘robust’ distribution network.

“Our industry is rapidly evolving, and consumers are looking for new and exciting options that suit a wide variety of occasions, and we couldn’t be happier to have found the perfect partner to extend our brands into the spirits category,” said Dave Burwick, CEO of The Boston Beer Company.

“Beam Suntory shares our pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit, and the obsession with delivering high-quality products. This unique, win-win collaboration opens a new frontier for our industry-leading Truly Hard Seltzer brand as we expand into bottled spirits and also allows us to bring a great Tequila brand into our best-in-class wholesaler network.”

Beam Suntory said it was ‘turbo charging its fast-growing US RTD business’, following the company’s purchase of pre-mixed cocktail brand On The Rocks, and the launch of Hornitos Tequila seltzers and canned Jim Beam Highballs.

The company is a leading player in the RTD market in Japan, Australia and Germany, with its Jim Beam Bourbon, Canadian Club whisky and -196° RTD brands.

In December last year, Beam Suntory appointed former Diageo executive Heather Boyd to the newly created role of managing director for its RTD business in the US.

Albert Baladi, Beam Suntory president and CEO, added: “We are each tapping opportunities in adjacent categories by unleashing our shared creativity and respective distribution strengths in spaces that resonate with consumers.

“We’re expanding the reach of loved, iconic brands that have tremendous equity, credibility, and consumer loyalty. Beam Suntory and Boston Beer understand brand building, and as pioneers in premium spirits and craft beer, our combined possibilities are limitless.”

The first new products from the venture will be available across the US off-trade by mid-2022. The firms will also work to expand across additional key brands in the future.

Beam Suntory reported stagnant net sales for 2020, however it highlighted ‘exceptionally strong’ sales for Japanese RTD products and bottled cocktail range On The Rocks.

Truly Hard Seltzer increased its foothold in the US on-trade this year, growing 2.6% to a 17.4% market share, while White Claw’s market share of the category decreased.

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