Is This the Future for MolsonCoors?

I received a press release first thing this morning announcing that MolsonCoors UK has purchased Sharp’s, a significant and generally well-regarded brewer of cask ale in the southwest of England. Doom Bar, Sharp’s main brand and the best-selling cask ale in the southwest and Wales – not to mention purportedly the fastest growing cask brand in the Greater London area – is a reasonably tasty and approachable, if none too exceptional, beer, well-suited to entry-level cask ale drinkers.

That’s all the insight I’m going to presume top offer on that front. For more info, check out Pete Brown’s blog or, I’m sure, those of any number of U.K.-based beer bloggers. (I’m betting that even ATJ will feel compelled to chime in eventually.)

Instead, what I’d like to focus on is how this fits into the MolsonCoors mix, and how it might affect craft brewing in the U.S., perhaps sooner rather than later.

  • Fact: MolsonCoors acquired one of Ontario’s most venerated craft brewers, Creemore Springs, a couple of years ago, and has had success with it since.
  • Fact: Through its Creemore division, MolsonCoors recently bought Canada’s pioneering craft brewery, Granville Island. The jury is still out on that one.
  • Fact: The large brewery Frankenstein known as MillerCoors in the U.S. has witnessed significant growth of its Blue Moon line of craft-styled beers over the past few years.
  • Fact: MolsonCoors in the U.K. has shown no small degree of commitment to, and experience no small degree of success with, Worthington White Shield and other Worthington line spin-offs, even if they have been dragging their feet on several fronts of late.
  • Fact: As Pete Brown points out, on the surface, at least, Sharp’s seems to be a good fit with MolsonCoors U.K.

So, might this foretell of a craft brewery acquisition or two coming up in the United States, despite Miller’s disastrous past history with the segment? If I were a betting man, and I am, I’d be mighty tempted to put money on it.

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