Our 2023 Beer Supplier of the Year: Constellation Brands

constellation brands supplier of the year modelo beverage dynamics magazine growth beer brands

For nearly 75 years, consumer-led decision-making has driven every aspect of business at Constellation Brands. No matter how often customer preferences change, the company always delivers. And it shows in their sales.

Constellation Brands was named the #1 Growth Leader among large consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies by Circana and the Boston Consulting Group in their 2022 annual report. Modelo Especial, one of the imported beer brands under Constellation, also recently became the top-selling beer in the U.S., having taken the crown from the beleaguered Bud Light.

All of this success has earned the company’s spot as our Top Supplier of the Year as part of our 2023 Beer Growth Brands Awards.

Modelo Making Its Way to the Top

A variety of factors have been driving Modelo sales. According to a Constellation Brands spokesperson, the company’s successful “Fighting Spirit” campaign has resonated with consumers as it connects to the universal truth of working hard and going after your goals.

The updated platform, “Mark of a Fighter,” signifies an evolution of the highly emotive and successful Fighting Spirit brand ethos. It also reflects changing consumer dynamics and a growing human desire for more meaningful pursuits that bring internal happiness versus achieving outward status and fame.

According to the spokesperson, “Mark of a Fighter” will continue to tell the stories of everyday people doing everyday things. Modelo has also invested in strategic partnerships that have helped extend its reach, including UFC and the College Football Playoffs Ñ helping to drive the point that it’s a great drink consumers can enjoy no matter the occasion.

“Modelo Especial is in its third year as Official Beer Sponsor of the College Football Playoffs, so it’s been fun to tap into that incredibly passionate fan base,” the spokesperson says. “The brand has also been a sponsor of UFC for quite some time, so there’s a lot of longevity and synergy with those consumers. Over the past few years on Cinco de Mayo, the brand has encouraged consumers to ‘Cinco Autentico’, which has included highlighting local vendors so that revelers can get ready for their Cinco festivities with authentic goods that honor and celebrate the culture and day.”

Expanding Portfolio Drives Growth

New product launches and investments across its portfolio have also helped Constellation thrive over the years. Beginning in 1945, when 21-year-old Marvin Sands purchased Canandaigua Industries in upstate New York, the company continued to make numerous acquisitions and has grown rapidly over the decades. After a few name changes, they landed on Constellation Brands, and now have locations in Victor, NY, and San Francisco.

In June 2023, the company acquired Luxury Napa Valley wine brand, Domaine Curry, from Coup De Foudre Napa Valley. The acquisition further enhanced the brand’s higher-end portfolio and also reinforced its ongoing commitment to female and minority representation within the industry.

Constellation also acquired a minority stake in TÖST, a flavor-forward and alcohol-free sparkling beverage brand, in May. This purchase addressed the growing demand from consumers looking for a sophisticated beverage that happens to be alcohol-free.

What started out as a wine business has now turned into a wine, spirit and beer enterprise featuring major brands such as Svedka vodka, Casa Noble tequila, Corona beer and Woodbridge wine, among many others. By continuing their consumer-driven decision-making motto, Constellation Brands upholds success and brand growth.

Connecting with the Hispanic Community

The growth in Mexican imports is another key factor driving Constellation’s success. The company has been focused on the high-end beer category for years, including Mexican imports. Consumers have been trading up their beers for quite some time, so demand and buy rate have all continued to grow year-over-year.

“It’s also important to note the Hispanic population growth in the U.S. and how its ongoing influence in culture has helped to elevate the category,” the spokesperson says. “Our brands’ origin stories are rooted in Mexican heritage, so it’s been great to grow with the consumer and watch our products stay true to our base while growing in the general market.”

All these brands and platforms resonate with consumers in their own distinct ways, helping the Mexican imports category continue to grow.

Melissa Dowling is editor of Cheers magazine, our on-premise sister publication. Contact her at mdowling@epgmediallc.com, and read her recent piece, Announcing The 2023 Beer Growth Brands Awards Winners.

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