With its European business continuing to perform well, beer maker Coors
However, the numbers were still disappointing as lower demand, the "carb craze," and supply chain difficulties hurt results. Investors, though, cheered Coors, sending shares up almost 6% to $59, and bringing them within shouting distance of the stock's 52-week high.
The numbers themselves will look somewhat familiar to folks who read our October story covering Coors' Q3 results. While some market watchers have said the company overpaid to get into Europe, without that business Coors' 2003 numbers might have looked pretty bad. The company grew both sales and market share last year in Europe. Looking ahead, it hopes Coors Fine Light will help juice numbers alongside Carling and Grolsch.
Q4 sales in Europe rose some 11% as volume improved slightly. Volume improved in Canada too, which illustrates just how much trouble Coors has had in the stateside battle against Anheuser-Busch
Now, Coors is hoping to get its U.S. business fizzing again. The company hopes it can catch onto the low-carb craze, something it appears to have had trouble doing despite its advertising meant to position Coors Light as an alternative to Miller Light and Anheuser-Busch's Michelob Ultra.
With that in mind, Coors will turn to a new product: Aspen Edge, a "super-premium, low-carbohydrate" beer the company plans to release on a limited basis in March. Given the difficulty the company seems to be having domestically, perhaps it should accelerate the national rollout it currently has slated for sometime "prior to the end of 2004." That's unless it hopes to tie the beer's national debut into the NFL season, a key part of its marketing in 2003 and early 2004.
Would you drink a beer called Aspen Edge? Talk it over on our Coors discussion board.
Dave Marino-Nachison can be reached via email.