Coors Jumps into Craft Category

Company to create faux brewing company to roll out specialty brands

Molson Coors Brewing Co. has formed a brewing subsidiary called AC Golden Brewing Co. to cultivate specialty craft-like beer brands, in yet another move from the major brewers to gain a bigger share of the fast-growing high margin craft and import segment.

In an e-mail to employees last week, Coors Brewing said the brand incubation brewery would introduce products by rolling them out in a slow, deliberate fashion.

The email stated that Blue Moon will not be folded into AC Golden Brewing.

Although Blue Moon has been a rare exception of a major brewery faux craft brand selling well, Coors will have a tough time with additional brands as the authenticity issue with consumers will likely remain a purchase-point decider.

Anheuser-Busch Cos. has introduced dozens of new craft look-alike brands, while Miller Brewing Co. has separated its sales forces for the products, both with marginal success..

AC Golden Brewing is one of the initiatives of Peter Coors, chairman of Coors Brewing Co. The company will be led by Glenn Knippenberg.

In its e-mail, Coors Brewing said it planned to adopt a more deliberate rollout for AC Golden Brewing products rather than a major nationwide debut.