Constellation Brands: How alcohol brands are shedding family spirit to better diversify their workforce

Studies have often shown that ethnic and gender diversity within management teams results in financial outperformance for more inclusive businesses.

This data makes the business case for boosting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) an easy sell at alcohol producer Constellation Brands, where top executives say the need is even greater. pronounced for consumer-focused brands. People want to see themselves in the brands they buy, Constellation argues, and so diversity of thought internally will be well received externally.

“We view diversity as something absolutely critical to the future success of our business,” says Mike McGrew, Communications Manager, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and Chief Diversity Officer at Constellation.

Supplier of Corona beer, Kim Crawford wine and Svedka vodka has pledged to increase diverse representation by 50% in the company’s U.S. workforce over the next five years. From the company the current workforce is very white at 80%, well above 60% representation for this group in the overall US population. Constellation Brands’ commitment to becoming more ethnically inclusive would mean that within half a decade, 30% of the company’s workforce would identify as Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic , Asian or other person of color.

Constellation Brands also wants to strengthen gender representation to parity. Women now make up nearly 40% of the company’s US workforce.

There has also been an increase in diverse representation on Constellation’s board and management over the past few years, changes to the team that have been a passion project for Bill Newlands, the CEO of Constellation. ‘company.

Inclusiveness commitments are part of a broader company drive to develop diversity of representation at all levels of the organization. Constellation believes that by thinking more diversely, they can stay ahead of the ever-changing consumer habits of Americans.

McGrew explains that there are three areas that Constellation Brands is particularly keen to address: improving diverse representation across the business, educating teams to ensure an inclusive culture develops as the makeup of the business changes and encourage broader social impact in the alcohol industry and within the company. communities that Constellation Brands operates.

This latest commitment explains why Constellation Brands has outlined plans to invest $100 million in women-led startups by 2028, and $100 million, separately, in Black, Latinx and minority-owned businesses. by 2030. Constellation has already acquired stakes in The Rosé Festival, Archer Roose and Sapere Aude Sparking Wine; and Austin Cocktails, founded entirely by women, earlier this year.

“We actively invest in founders with high potential and big disruptive ideas,” says Mallika Monteiro, Head of Growth, Strategy and Digital at Constellation. “It’s good for our business, good for them and certainly good for the industry.”

Achieving leadership in major alcohol brands is likely to be a long and ongoing process. Take a look at the different family businesses in major categories like Scotch whiskey, American bourbon or champagne houses in France. Mostly all white. And when many of these brands are sold to large alcohol conglomerates, there is a strong preference to maintain the family spirit of these brands, which means that many of the executives, master distillers and marketing faces behind these brands remain exclusive to one racial group.

Constellation Brands believes that when recruiting, it wants to look outside the industry and reach audiences that have not always been included in the past. A relatively new entry-level sales recruiting program in Texas and other Southern states is courting talent from historically black colleges and universities.

“We coach and train people managers and hiring managers to think about the skills they need, rather than just looking at historical company experience,” says Kris Carey, director of human resources at Constellation.

DEI and creating a more inclusive culture is also a priority at Molson Coors, the parent company of Coors Light and Miller Lite. The society hosts a monthly DEI Town Hall and each October celebrates an annual “Inclusion Month,” which includes keynote speakers and interactive sessions to inspire candid conversations about inclusion. The company’s pubs, located in the Chicago, Milwaukee and Denver offices, are being asked to host various events hosted by employee resource groups that support black employees, women, LGBTQ+, veterans, and more. .

“We’re on a journey here and there’s been a lot of really good work that’s been done around DEI over the past couple of years,” said Harmony Lussier, senior director of talent acquisition at Molson Coors.

Molson Coors has pledged to invest $100 million by 2025 in initiatives that “aspire to improve livelihoods, champion diversity, foster empowerment and build resilient communities.”

More broadly, in addressing the workplace for everyone, Molson Coors has implemented a hybrid schedule in which all employees come into the office three days a week, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The dress code at Molson Coors has changed from “business casual” to simply “casual”.

“We think the schedule here at Molson Coors is working, as we try to rebuild a real sense of community,” says Lussier. “People enjoy being with their teams, it increases energy levels, the pace at which you can get work done is much faster and it lends itself to a more productive environment.”

Even the office bar has evolved. Molson Coors pubs have reopened after being closed at the height of the pandemic. Brands like Keystone Light or Topo Chico Hard Seltzer are back to organize events to celebrate the campaigns. Executives take turns behind the bar to serve drinks to their colleagues. And working parents have asked to get more involved in the festivities. Pubs now open an hour earlier, one day a week, to allow parents to socialize before heading home.

As a result, Molson Coors pubs are always packed on Thursdays.

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