At a time when the trend in the overall beer industry remains flat, Crown Imports' cup is foaming over.
Its flagship brand, Corona Extra, already the No. 1 imported beer in the U.S., is coming off one of its best summers ever with the Corona Extra and Corona Light brands posting growth in the 4 to 5 percent range.
While Corona gets most of the attention, the sleeper in the Crown portfolio continues to be Modelo Especial. The secret may soon be out though, with the brand posting growth of 17 percent in the second quarter.
"This brand has been growing year after year for many years," said Jim Sabia, chief marketing officer at Crown Imports. "One of the strengths of Modelo Especial is that it is not an overnight success. There are still so many opportunities for this brand."
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The brand will extend its reach a little further with the release of Modelo Especial Chelada, a blend of Modelo Especial beer mixed with tomato, salt and lime. The drink will hit select markets this week before a national roll out next year.
"It's an authentic way they use beer with other ingredients in Mexico," said Sabia. "This is a very traditional Mexican drink that they have enjoyed for many, many years."
Modelo Especial Chelada will seek to expand a brand that despite posting gains for 19-straight years in the U.S. still has plenty of room to grow due to low consumer awareness and limited distribution. According to a 2012 survey, 54 percent of general market beer drinkers ages 21-34 were unaware of the Modelo Especial brand and 77 percent have never tried it.