Molson Coors dropping Miller brand name, moving some positions to Milwaukee

FILE - In this June 3, 2018, file photo empty cans of Coors beer sit in beverage holders on the backs of box seats after the ninth inning of a baseball game in Denver. Molson Coors Brewing Co. is laying off 500 workers worldwide and restructuring its operations as it faces declining beer sales. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
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DENVER (AP/WMTV)-- The parent company of MillerCoors, Molson Coors Brewing Co. is laying off 500 workers worldwide and restructuring its operations as it faces declining beer sales.

Part of the restructuring includes retiring the MillerCoors brand name. MillerCoors became Molson Coors' U.S. corporate brand name at the time of forming a joint venture in 2008.

It will continue to pour resources behind big ideas like Coors Light’s “Made to Chill” campaign and Miller Lite’s newly launched “It’s Miller Time” campaign.

The company expects to save $150 million by closing offices in Denver and elsewhere and simplifying its structure. Its four business units — U.S., Canada, Europe and International — will be consolidated into North America and Europe, with other regions reporting to those two.

Chicago will be its North American headquarters. Support functions like finance and human resources that are scattered around the U.S. will now be based in Milwaukee.

Molson Coors says it will save approximately $150 million with the new structure. It will use those savings to improve its digital marketing capabilities and introduce new products more quickly, like the canned wine and hard coffee it unveiled this year. Molson Coors says it has been working on reducing the time it takes to bring new products to market from 18 months to as little as four months in the U.S.

Molson Coors is also continuing its previously announced plan to modernize its breweries and make them more flexible to meet consumer demand. The company’s brewery in Golden, Colorado, is the largest in the U.S., brewing up to 10 million barrels of beer each year.

“Our business is at an inflection point,” Molson Coors President and CEO Gavin Hattersley said in a statement. “We can continue down the path we’ve been on for several years now, or we can make the significant and difficult changes necessary to get back on the right track.”

Hattersley became president and CEO last month when CEO Mark Hunter retired.

Molson Coors is also dropping “Brewing” from its name to emphasize that it makes more than beer. It will become Molson Coors Beverage Co. in January.

Beer sales were up 5% in Asia and Western Europe in 2018 and rose 6% in Eastern Europe, according to Euromonitor. But they were flat in the U.S. as canned cocktails, hard seltzers and craft beers stole share from big brewers. The company’s beer brands include Miller, Molson, Coors, Blue Moon, Pilsner Urquell and Foster’s. It also makes Henry’s Hard Soda.

The company plans to invest in iconic brands and expand into "above premium" beers.
Overall Molson Coors reported a third-quarter loss of $402.8 million on Wednesday. On a per-share basis, the company lost $1.86. Earnings, adjusted for asset impairment costs and non-recurring costs, were $1.48 per share.

That exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, according to Zacks Investment Research. But the company’s adjusted revenue of $2.84 billion which fell short of analysts’ forecasts.

Molson Coors’ sales fell 3% to $8.1 billion in the first nine months of the year.

The company’s shares slipped 3.6% to $52.71 in midday trading.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) issued the following statement on this move:

“I would like to thank MillerCoors for expanding its workforce in Wisconsin and its continued commitment to the state. Governor Evers also should be commended for following through on the income tax credits that Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation authorized for the company in 2017. It’s good to see that the governor is beginning to understand the importance of providing incentives to help spur business and job growth.”