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The Americas

03 June 2022

Molson Coors and AB-InBev branch out into alternative milk

USA | Molson Coors’ new Golden Wing barley milk brand joins AB-InBev-backed counterpart Take Two, as they seek growth in the booming alternative milk segment.

Where AB-InBev’s presence on store shelves right now is mostly in the form of its investment in start-up Take Two, which is part of ZX Ventures, Molson Coors took the route of developing its own barley milk brand, Golden Wing. Unlike Take Two’s product, which upcycles brewers’ spent grain, Golden Wing uses new grains sourced specifically for the product, media say.

What about the taste?

Hitting store shelves in May 2022, Molson Coors’ Golden Wing Barley Milk is made with five all-natural ingredients, including non-GMO barley, sunflower oil, pink Himalayan salt, and shiitake mushroom extract. It is supposed to taste like milk that is left in a bowl of breakfast cereals.

AB-InBev’s ZX Ventures launched its Take Two barley milk in 2020, mainly in the Pacific Northwest. The brand is now selling in 1,300 stores. Molson Coors rolled out its Golden Wing barley milk at 50 Sprouts Farmers Markets in California, and now at Whole Foods stores in southern California.

Almond milk leads the segment

The plant-based milk segment has evolved over time to include different ingredients, beginning with soy, and then moving into nuts followed by oats. This opened the door to other grain-based versions.

More than USD 3 billion in revenue are generated annually by milk substitutes in the US, statista.com reports. A breakdown of the sales of the plant-based food products category in the US shows milk ahead of meat, ready-made meals, and ice cream products.

Almond milk leads in sales, followed by oat milk, soy milk, and coconut milk. A variety of other plant-based milks, such as pea, cashew, rice milk, and others, makes up the rest of the US market. Soy milk is expected to see a decline in sales.