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Bottler News

Tracking Competitor Developments


Asahi Breweries To Cut Prices On EU Wine Imports, Following Agreement

Asahi Breweries Ltd., a unit of Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings, plans to cut suggested retail prices for wines imported from the European Union by four to 17 percent. The price cuts, starting with shipments on March 1, coincides with an economic partnership agreement (EPA) between Japan and the EU that will take effect in February. Forty items are affected by the new pricing scheme. When the EPA goes into effect, Japan will remove its tariff on EU wine, currently set at 15 percent or $1.14 per liter, whichever is less.

Asahi Launches Non-Alcoholic Beer In U.K.

Asahi Breweries has launched a non-alcoholic beer in the U.K. made using a customized fermentation process and yeast strain that yields citrusy aromas and hoppy notes. The company says the new Peroni Libera 0.0 Percent is a response to the “mindful alcohol consumption” trend and consumer demand for “a premium, great-tasting beer” that contains no alcohol. The beer is exclusively available at Tesco stores across the U.K. at a price of $6.54 for a four pack of 330 ml bottles, but will be released across the off-trade at a later date.

U.K’s Fuller’s Sells Brewery Business To Asahi Europe

Assuming the deal is approved by shareholders and regulators, Asahi Europe Ltd will acquire the entire brewery business of Fuller, Smith & Turner (Fuller's) for an “enterprise value” of $326 million, netting Fuller’s net around $268 million in cash. Fuller's Brewery has brewed its eponymous flagship beer since 1958 at the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, west London. The sale of the beer business to the subsidiary of Asahi Group Holdings represents a multiple of 23.6 times earnings before interest tax and depreciation (EBITDA) of $14 million for the 52 weeks ended March 31, 2018. The deal will allow Fuller’s to focus on its pubs and hotels business, where 87 percent of operating profits are generated.


New CEO Named At Carlsberg U.K.

Danish brewer Carlsberg has named former Procter & Gamble Co. and SAB Miller executive Tomasz Blawat as CEO of Carlsberg U.K., effective in April. An 11-year veteran of P&G, Blawat left the company in 2004 to become vice president of the Polish subsidiary of SAB Miller brewing. Blawat succeeds Julian Momen, who will step down at the end of March after two years as CEO. Carlsberg U.K. employs about 1,000 people across 14 sites in England, Scotland, and Wales, including its Northampton brewery and headquarters. It holds the U.K. brand license for U.S.-based Brooklyn Brewery. 


Suntory To Launch Whisky Blended With Liquids Sourced Across The Globe

Japan’s largest whisky maker Suntory announced it will debut a “world blended whisky” – Ao – in April featuring liquids from distilleries located in the five largest whisky-making regions around the world – namely, Scotland, Japan, Ireland, Canada, and the U.S. The new 43 percent ABV release will first launch in Japan at $46 per bottle.  According to Forbes magazine, Japan’s whisky market was flooded in 2018 with imported whisky that was blended slightly with Japanese whisky then labeled as Japanese whisky, deceiving consumers. The phenomenon is made possible by lax regulatory control over whisky making in the country. With Suntory entering the world blended whisky market, “Hopefully, those who continue to deceive drinkers will find themselves under the spotlight,” says Forbes writer George Koutsakis, “and will have no choice but to change their ways.”

RJ Corp

PepsiCo To Sell Indian Bottling Operations To Varun Beverages

According to unnamed executives familiar with the possible deal, RJ Corp-owned Varun Beverages Ltd is negotiating to acquire PepsiCo’s bottling, sales and distribution in India’s south and west territories for its carbonated drinks business. Varun already runs PepsiCo’s bottling operations in the north and east and contributes more than 51 percent to its India’s sales volume. PepsiCo formed a transition team in December to manage the shift from company-owned to franchisee-owned operations. When the transaction is completed, sales and distribution will be operated by the franchisees, though PepsiCo will continue to own the brand name, sell concentrate, and handle marketing. One of the sources of the story said the divestment of the bottling operations is “in line with the company’s global direction to run asset-light businesses across world markets” and operate bottling functions through franchisees. Coca-Cola operates through multiple franchisee bottlers in India, in addition to its own bottling arm Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB).


Suntory To Install High-Speed Bottling Technology At U.K. Factory

Fulfilling a pledge to limit its water consumption in line with planetary boundaries – and meet a 2020 target of reducing its overall water footprint by 15 percent – Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS) announced it is investing $17 million in new high-speed bottling technology for its Gloucestershire (U.K.) soft drink factory. The innovative technology could reduce the factory's overall water footprint by 4.4 percent. The faster bottle filling devices will reduce the amount of water required to produce each soft drink bottle by 40 percent, delivering a 40 percent reduction in the amount of energy used during the manufacturing process at the same time. It will be installed in the spring and come online before the end of 2019, LRS announced. The technology purchase is supported by a $17 million grant from Suntory headquarters in Tokyo. 
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