Building off a blazing relaunch that pushed up U.S. sales of Sol triple-digits, the brand in 2019 will begin importing a version of the best-selling Mexican ready-to-drink chelada.
Sol Chelada, a mix of Sol beer, tomato, natural lime flavor, spices and other natural flavors, is slated to debut nationwide Feb. 1, joining a category that’s outpacing the overall industry. Imported cheladas are up more than 16 percent over the last 52-week period ending Sept. 8, according to Nielsen cross-channel and convenience data.
The 3.5 percent alcohol-by-volume beer is a take on a Sol chelada sold in Mexico that was released in 2011. Its full-year 2017 sales were more than double its next-closest competitor, according to Nielsen data.
MillerCoors is confident Sol Chelada will have similar success north of the border. “A lot of people in the U.S. are big fans, and we’re constantly hearing from them on social media, asking where they can buy it and when it’s coming here,” says Elizabeth Hitch, MillerCoors marketing manager. “There’s already an inherent fandom for this product in border states, and we’re excited to bring the next great innovation from Sol to drinkers here.”
Reminiscent of a beer-based bloody Mary, Sol Chelada is “super refreshing, yet savory — great for daytime occasions,” Hitch says. Slighty spicy with a hint of citrus flavor and salt, the red-hued drink remains beer-forward.
It will hit the market packaged in 24-ounce single-serve cans. It will be backed with a media campaign that includes social media, digital advertising and out-of-home displays beginning in early March 2019.
Ready-to-drink cheladas, which includes drinks from Modelo, Tecate and Anheuser-Busch brands, are up 4.8 percent in case volume in the 52 weeks ending Sept. 8, per Nielsen. Imported versions, however, are up 16.6 percent over that period, driven primarily by Modelo Chelada Especial and Modelo Tamarindo Picante.
Sol, meanwhile, remains ablaze, up 171.8 percent in volume and 236.6 percent in sales dollars year-to-date through Sept. 8, Nielsen data show. Its numbers are even more impressive since the brand’s redesign and new campaign kicked off in April.
MillerCoors took over the U.S. marketing and distribution of the brand last fall under a 10-year licensing agreement with Heineken.
Sol’s robust innovation lineup in Mexico, which includes two additional drinks “was part of the reason this brand has such strong appeal,” Hitch says. “We know their strength in Mexico and we’re excited to leverage this in the U.S. and build the Sol brand family here in total.”
This post has been corrected.