Molson Coors CEO Explains Reasoning Behind Keystone Light Rebranding

by Chase Thomas

There has been a lot of change over the last few years Molson Coors. For one, in 2016, the parent company changed the name of MillerCoors to Molson Coors. However, that change is not is what is at the center of a trademark trial between the company and Stone Brewing, a craft brewery based out of San Diego, California. In 2016, the company formerly known as MillerCoors sought assistance in rebranding Keystone Light. The company reportedly struggled with sales at that time for that brand. That particular brand competed with other economic beer choices, but it was reportedly underperforming two times as much as its main competitors. One of those main competitors for years has been Natural Light. However, the Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley explained the reasoning behind the Keystone Light rebranding.

While being questioned in the trademark trial, Hattersley told the court, “I was concerned we were going to lose shelf space because all our economy brands were, frankly, underperforming our competitors.” The CEO spoke frankly about how his company’s economic brands were fairing at that time, like Keystone Light. They were struggling at the time. The company could have potentially lost shelf space if action was not taken.

However, the trademark dispute stems from the emphasis on the “stone” part of Keystone Light. With Stone Brewing, their lawsuit case is that the change reportedly cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Molson Coors argues something different. The MillerCoors’ attorney John Bunge said, “We’re not competing against an IPA from San Diego.” He continued, “They make a great beer, I’m not here to tell you otherwise, but those aren’t our competitors, our competitors are those who make economy beers like Anheuser-Busch.”

WWII Veteran’s Love For Coors Light

Everyone has their own theories as to longevity in this world. Some people look to exercise. Others look to diet. For one World War II veteran, though, it might have to do with a daily dose of Coors Light. Indeed, the veteran passed away on December 27, 2021, but his obituary, it talks about both his time in the Army Air Corps, but also his love of a good beer.

It read, “Andrew was retired as a stainless steel salesman with Allegheny Ludlum in Washington. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II with dreams of being a pilot.” The obituary continued, “He spent the majority of his time in the service as a nose gunner on the B-24 Liberator, flying with crews training pilots switching from 2 to 4 engine aircraft, before moving to the top turret gunner position on the B-17 Flying Fortress.”

He had a routine. Every day, it read, he loved cracking open a delicious Coors Light beer. That was what he suspected was the secret to his longevity. The obituary added, “His daily joy was his 4 p.m. Coors Light beer, which he attributed to his longevity.”