Molson Coors has taken a large minority stake in LA Libations, a non-alcoholic beverage incubator that specializes in identifying next-generation emerging beverages.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but it is understood Molson Coors has taken a 49% stake in the company, and will now hold two seats on the LA Libations board.

In addition to creating and nurturing new brands, L.A. Libations also partners with brands to provide retail selling and in-store execution services. The two companies have worked together over the past year as L.A. Libations helped Molson Coors begin to expand the Clearly Kombucha brand it acquired in June 2018.

The equity investment gives Molson Coors a stake in new products launched by LA Libations and the multiyear, category-exclusive agreement gives Molson Coors access to brand creation, brand building and consulting/insights services from LA Libations. With brands created by LA Libations, Molson Coors will have the option to purchase the brand in full. For brands it does not purchase, Molson Coors still will hold a financial stake in LA Libations’ ownership of the brand.

“Developing a strong portfolio outside the traditional beer category is an important part of our long-term strategy, and this partnership with LA Libations enables us to pursue opportunities in this space without needing an extensive nonalcohol infrastructure,” said Pete Marino, president of emerging growth for Molson Coors. “Their expertise in creating and nurturing brands is especially valuable at a time when much of the growth in the beverage industry is coming from brands and categories that often were nonexistent five years ago.”

For LA Libations, which is the emerging beverage category captain for several major U.S. retailers, the partnership provides an opportunity to invest additional resources in its ideas and capabilities.

“We are honored that Molson Coors has chosen LA Libations as their emerging brand partner, and we intend to jointly become a major player in the nonalcohol space,” said Danny Stepper, co-founder and CEO of LA Libations. “This strategic partnership with Molson Coors is an important step for our company, brands and partners, as it unlocks access to brand-building capital, capabilities and efficiencies towards utilization of a world-class distribution network.”

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