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Molson Coors sees US export potential with Irish craft beer buy

By Ben Bouckley+

15-Jan-2013

Molson Coors says its purchase of the Franciscan Well craft beer brand and microbrewery is a central step in its plans to build up a strong market share in Irish craft beer.

Established in 1998, the Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork City has attracted global acclaim for its beers, Molson Coors UK & Ireland said, with brands such as Shandon Export Stout, Rebel Red and Friar Weisse.

Plans are afoot to expand the brewery’s capacity from 2,000 hectoliters (hl) to 75,000hl, with new capacity available later in 2013, the firm said.

Exports to the UK, Canada and the US targeted, where Molson Coors said it saw “strong interest in Irish craft beers and whiskeys”.

The company said its investments were central to Molson Coors Ireland’s plans “to build up a strong share in the burgeoning craft beer market, as well as a significant Irish craft beer export business to international markets”.

Irish craft beer retail sales were likely to grow from €24m ($31m) to around €235m by 2017, Molson Coors said, with the latter figure standing at around 10% of the entire Irish beer market by 2017.