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Bottler News

Tracking Competitor Developments

Asahi

Heavy Rains, Flooding In Japan Force Temporary Closing Of Sake Brewery

Heavy rain storms in western Japan that have caused deadly flooding and mud slides have forces the maker of top sake brand Dassai to suspend production. More than a hundred people have died as a result of the storms. Asahi Shuzo wrote on its website that its brewery in Iwakuni suffered losses due to flooding and power cuts, but no staff were harmed. Earlier this year, the Dassai sake brand announced a plan to expand its export market by building a sake brewery in New York City, with production set to begin in 2019.

Britvic

Britvic Reformulates, Repositions The Purdey’s Energy Drink Line

With consumers increasingly turning away from sugary energy drinks, U.K. beverage company Britvic believes it has an alternative that will prove attractive to disenchanted energy beverage fans. The company has reformulated and repositioned its Purdey’s multivitamin juice line as a “multivitamin energy” beverage. The repositioning will resonate more clearly with existing consumers and stockists and attract new consumers into the more healthful energy drink category, the company says. It has launched an outdoor ad campaign in the U.K. to announce the changes. The Purdey’s range comprises Purdey’s Rejuvenate and Purdey’s Edge – both blended with fruit juices, sparkling spring water, botanical extracts, and vitamins – and available in 250 ml cans and 330 ml glass bottles.  

Britvic Adds New Flavor To Zero-Sugar Lineup

U.K. beverage company Britvic has expanded the zero-sugar offerings within its Irish soft drinks brand Club Zero with a lemon flavor for the summer season. The new lemon flavor joins the current range of orange, rock shandy, raspberry and limited-edition ‘Super Split’ editions of Club Zero. The company’s research found that consumers like the sugar-sweetened version of Club Lemon and are now looking for something similar without sugar. The zero-sugar lemon flavor will be on store shelves throughout Ireland, packaging in 500 ml bottles at $1.50, or $2.80 for a 2-liter bottle. Ireland‘s tax on sugary soft drinks took effect recently after it satisfied the European Union’s (EU) concern that the planned levy was not a form of state aid. The tax rates are similar to those imposed by the U.K.’s levy in April.

Carlsberg

Carslberg Says Its Experiment With Beer-Sensing AI And Machine Learning Is Progressing Well

Six months in, Carlsberg’s three-year partnership with Microsoft and its Azure artificial intelligence (AI) platform is making progress. The idea is to use AI and advanced analytics to speed development of new, and hopefully better, beer flavors using high-tech sensors. The head of the Danish brewer’s yeast and fermentation process says the technology can actually differentiate among various pilsners and other lagers. Joch Förster is planning to continue developing the machine learning algorithms to better measure the smell and tastes produced by fermentation. Another goal is simplifying the technology for less tech-savvy brewers. But one observer from the U.K.’s Campaign for Real Ale struck a note of caution: “It would be a shame if this is the first step in a process to replace human instinct in the brewhouse.” 

Carlsberg Hopes To Reverse Sales Slide With Rebranding, Repackaging Of Lagers

In an effort to reverse sales declines and rebuild consumer enthusiasm for its lager brands, Danish brewer Carlsberg is rebranding its flagship pilsner and lager beers and introducing packaging changes across several other products. The company overhauled its Export brand last year. Carlsberg will announce the changes at an expo in Copenhagen in September that will highlight the products’ sustainability credentials. Sales of Carlsberg’s pilsner are still off by 16.4 percent, though a $19.7 million ad campaign, a packaging update for the Export brand, and a shift in focus from sports sponsorships to live music, seem to have reversed the trend. 

Carlsberg, Brooklyn Brewery Open Craft Brewery In Lithuania

Continuing their international craft brewery partnership, Carlsberg and Brooklyn Brewery have opened a refurbished Carlsberg facility in Lithuania that will include a craft beer line, a museum, bar and shop as well as conference facilities and beer tasting halls. The transformation of the Svyturys Brewery in the Klaipeda port area into a craft beer facility took three years to complete. The two companies operate similar craft breweries in Stockholm, London and Trondheim (Norway).

Suntory

Suntory Expands Premium Mixer Line With Soda Variant

Suntory has expanded its Merchant’s Heart mixer – “premium spirit enhancer” – line for the U.K. off-premise channel to include a soda version. The line now includes seven SKUs at about $1.78 a bottle: soda, classic tonic water, light tonic water, pink peppercorn tonic, floral aromatics tonic, hibiscus and ginger ale. This is the first brand extension since the range was launched in late-2016.
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