Coming soon to a beer near you: caffeine

Molson and Labatt announce plans to market new beers with caffeine added

Canada's two biggest brewers, Molson and Labatt, think they've found a way to bring a much-needed jolt to their market shares and bottom lines. Both have announced plans to market beers infused with caffeine.

Molson will debut its new Kick brand March 21 in central and western Canada. It debuts in Atlantic Canada on April 1.

Labatt will introduce its new brand entry – Shok – beginning in early April.

Both beers get their caffeine boost from guarana, a South American berry plant that both companies describe as being "a natural source of caffeine."

Molson describes its Kick product as a premium lager. It will market it in clubs and bars in a "sleek, fast-chilling aluminum bottle." It will feature five per cent alcohol by volume, similar to most of its standard brands.

Labatt's offering, on the other hand, is being marketed as a strong beer with 6.9 per cent alcohol. Shok will be sold in a smaller 250 ml can which will contain the same amount of alcohol as one regular bottle of beer.

Shok also contains other "berry aromas," Labatt said. Like Molson Kick, Shok will also be premium priced.

Molson also announced a new marketing campaign to "revitalize and re-energize" its Canadian brand. The new slogan – "It Starts Here."

When Molson announced its third-quarter financial results last month, it revealed that its volume in Canada had fallen 2.9 per cent, while total market share in Canada was down 1.1 percentage points to 41.8 per cent.

Molson merged with Coors last month to form Molson Coors.

Labatt is owned by InBev of Belgium.

Molson and Labatt together control more than 80 per cent of the Canadian beer market.