Molson Coors launches Canadian lager and eyes number two spot in Irish beer market

North American brewer wants to dislodge either Diageo or Heineken from top two

Speaking in Dublin at the launch of its Molson Canadian lager, Mr Molson said: "We're currently number three behind Diageo and Heineken. Within five to six years we'd like to be number two in the market. That's a pretty tall ambition, but it's good to have tall ambitions."

Molson Coors, whose brands include Coors Light and Carling, has spent €25 million over the past four years establishing a foothold here. It has built a market share of 11 per cent and acquired the Franciscan micro-brewery in Cork and its portfolio of craft beers. This still puts it a distant third to Guinness-owner Diageo and Dutch lager giant Heineken.

Molson Coors expects to produce 100,000 hectolitres of beer at its Cork brewery following a substantial investment in facilities this year. This will include the launch of a new “community beer”.

Molson Canadian will be available in 300 pubs and off licences by the end of this month. It is being launched as a premium lager in draught, bottles and cans, supported by an advertising campaign worth a "few million euro", according to Niall Phelan, who heads the Molson Coors operation here.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times