Brew+Press, the Molson Coors collective of beer sommeliers, seasoned bartenders and marketing pros charged with bringing Molson's premium brands to life, made its debut on Tuesday this week in lively fashion in London's Shoreditch.
The event showcased experiences such as Beer Confessionals and Flavour Pong, created to engage customers' interest, alongside food matches curated by beer sommelier Ed Hughes, and a cider cocktail bar hosted by new team member, Drinksmith's James York Pryce.
Molson Coors' acquisition of breweries and cideries such as Sharp's and Rekorderlig had shown the power of teams with 'a real passion and talent for talking to the consumer', Martyn Cozens, UK independent on-premise sales director told Imbibe.
Initially targeting London, the plan is to roll Brew+Press out to major cities around the UK over the next two to three years.
Sharp's and Rekorderlig sit at the heart of the beer and cider collective, along with producers such as Staropramen, Blue Moon and Franciscan Well, with the prospect of other 'craft' brands being added as and when further breweries or cideries are acquired. 'We want to bring the brands to life. We want to be giving consumers something a bit different,' said Cozens.
Expect more opportunities for meet-the-brewer sessions for staff and consumers, plus more food matching training sessions. 'Food matching is one of the reasons for the group's creation,' said Martin Coyle, Molson Coors' UK marketing director.
While Molson Coors itself already has five qualified beer sommeliers on staff, Hughes is ambitious. 'I want the whole team to gain the qualification,' he said.
'Beer is subjective, just as music is,' said Coyle, explaining the approach taken with some of the experiences on offer, designed both to challenge preconceptions as well as to engage consumers.
One such activity on show was Flavour Pong, a variant on Sharp's Beer Pong game. Styles of beer come under scrutiny, rather than specific beers, explained Brew+Press' Alan Carroll. 'It's about bringing the fun back into beer,' said Carroll, as he described opportunities for host outlets to follow up the games with an offer of a free half-pint of the contestant's favourite beer, or to head into food matching territory.
Meanwhile, over at the the Brew+Press bar, Pryce rustled up a number of Rekorderlig cocktails, highlighting the opportunities to upsell cider while recognising that simple serves are as valid as complex creations. 'These [recipes] are just stepping stones,' he said.