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FIFCO USA Remains Strong Amidst a Turbulent Year for Beer

2020 has been a trying year for the beer industry, the impact of COVID-19 reaching far and wide. But thanks to innovative line extensions, a popular new seltzer line and a new focused approach, FIFCO USA has been able to grow their top two brand families, Seagram’s Escapes & Labatt, amidst a world of chaos.

2020 has been a trying year for the beer industry, the impact of COVID-19 reaching far and wide. But thanks to innovative line extensions, a popular new seltzer line and a new focused approach, FIFCO USA has been able to grow their top two brand families, Seagram’s Escapes & Labatt, amidst a world of chaos. 
FIFCO USA is in a prime position moving into 2021. Rich Andrews, Chief Executive Officer for FIFCO USA, explains, “This year, we redefined our strategy and aligned our business against execution of our key priorities. At the top of our list was acceleration of Seagram’s Escapes, which has subsequently delivered growth of nearly 35% year over year. We have also built demand for top beer brands such as Labatt, while working hard to manage wholesaler inventories and capitalize on that demand. Together, with our wholesaler partners, we have good momentum going into 2021.” 
Flavor and Variety Drive Seagram’s Escapes Growth 
FIFCO USA is a top producer of FMBs sold in the US and partners with some of the best flavor houses in the world. So it should be no surprise that their top brand, Seagram’s Escapes, best known for a wide variety of great-tasting flavored malt beverages, has seen 11 years of consecutive growth. With 12 core flavors, each only 3.2% ABV, and a line extension of 8% ABV FMBs called Seagram’s Escapes Spiked, the company caters to a variety of consumers. The brand’s core variety pack is also the #1 variety pack by volume, sales and units across total US beer, according to IRI data.
New for fall and winter is the Aloha Ice Variety Pack, which is replacing the popular summer favorite Italian Ice Variety Pack. The flavors – Island Berry, Hawaiian Pog, Strawberry Guava and Pink Pineapple Passion – were inspired by popular Hawaiian Ice flavors and bring a ‘taste of the tropics’ to the Seagram’s Escapes consumer. A study found that 86% of Seagram’s Escapes consumers say that they would purchase the Aloha Ice Variety Pack, with 59% saying that Aloha Ice would be an incremental purchase to the core variety pack. 
This winter, Seagram’s Escapes is again teaming up with Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey to promote black-owned companies during the holiday season. The participating businesses will have their websites featured on Seagram’s Escapes virtual marketplace, which shoppers can access through Escapes’ website, to support these small businesses and drive sales during this important holiday shopping season. “This is a tough time to be in business in general, but COVID- 19 has disproportionately affected black-owned businesses,” said Seagram’s Escapes brand director Jennifer McCauley. “It’s important that Seagram’s Escapes and our partners use our platform to help these incredible businesses during this tough time.”
Connecting with the Younger Consumer 
The Labatt family of brands has been invigorated this year with the launch of Labatt Blue Light Seltzer. Adding seltzer to the Labatt portfolio was key to attracting younger drinkers. The hard seltzer segment is expected to triple by 2023, and with legal age Millennial drinkers as the core demographic, this addition just made sense. “The Labatt Family is now connecting more to the younger, legal drinking age audience,” says Janine Schoos, brand director for the Labatt family. The seltzer is currently available in a variety pack, featuring unique flavor combinations including: Black Cherry Lime, Tropical Grapefruit, Blood Orange Blackberry and Mango Lemon. In markets that have launched the product, Labatt Blue Light Seltzer has 84% brand awareness and 81% of those who purchased it said they would repurchase
Support for Labatt brands this year focuses on unique partnerships with sports figures, entertainment channels and games to bring experiences to consumers at home. Partnerships include Buffalo Bills Quarterback Josh Allen and Cornerback Tre’Davious White, Barstool Sports and the Philadelphia Flyers, just to name a few. With football fans mostly homebound this fall, Labatt’s “Homegating” program gave consumers the chance to win tailgating game sets. The holidays will also see a campaign encouraging consumers to drink in moderation choosing to make Labatt Non-Alcoholic beer part of every social occasion. The beer has only 72 calories and offers consumers a way to enjoy their favorite beer without the alcohol. The campaign will run from December entertaining through Dry January to take advantage of the brand’s peak selling window.
FIFCO Gives Back 
Not only has FIFCO remained strong on the business side, they have also been connecting with community with their Triple Bottom Line, which prioritizes people, planet and profits. Shifting to a virtual run this year, Seagram’s Escapes hosted a 5K where participants ran or walked 5K routes in their own neighborhoods, all over the country. Seagram’s Escapes donated $20 per participant to Feeding America for a total donation of $10,000. 
“While the world has significantly changed this year, we are thankful to be able to continue to give back in meaningful ways, while connecting with our employees, wholesalers and partners,” said Josh Halpern, Chief Sales Officer for FIFCO USA.

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