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Bottler News

Tracking Competitor Developments


Ambev Implements Ambitious Carbon Emission Reduction Plans; Also Invests In New Breweries

Brazilian brewing company Ambev, with facilities in 19 countries in Latin America and Canada, is committed to several sustainability goals, including a large – 25 percent – reduction in carbon emissions by 2025. To help achieve that goal, the company has introduced new microturbine technology in its factories to reduce CO2 emissions by 482 tons a year. Ambev partnered with an energy generation startup based in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul to implement Capstone microturbine technology from the U.S. The start-up (Luming Inteligência Energética) installed a prototype in one factory and units in three other breweries in the states of São Paulo and Paraná. Together, they produce 449,000 kwh of energy a month, the equivalent of planting more than 2,800 trees a year, Ambev says. The company also announced that, to meet growing competition from aggressively expanding Heineken NV, it would invest $432 million in new brewing plants in Brazil. [Image Credit: © Ambev]


To Appease Regulators, Asahi Says It Will Divest Beer, Cider Brands Acquired in Carlton Deal

After the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) expressed concerns about a possible Asahi purchase of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), Asahi has offered to divest some brands it would acquire, including Stella Artois and Strongbow. The ACCC worried that a combined Asahi-CUB would control the Somersby, Strongbow, Mercury, and Bulmers cider brands, which together account for two-thirds of cider sales in Australia. Asahi, which announced it would acquire CUB for $9.6 billion in 2019, has offered to divest these brands, as well as CUB’s Little Green and Bonamy’s cider brands, to satisfy regulators.[Image Credit: © CUB]


Bottles Made Using New Enzymatic Recycling Technology Usher In New Sustainability Era

U.K. beverage maker Lucozade Ribena Suntory will soon begin selling some of its most popular soft drink brands packaged in “100 percent sustainable” plastic bottles. Ribena, Lucozade Energy and Lucozade Sport were on track for PET packs that could “better prevent plastic pollution from harming our oceans and planet” LRS said. Bio-industrial solutions company Carbios has developed a process through which a newly created mutant enzyme breaks down PET waste into chemicals that are recycled in an “extremely efficient” manner into high-quality new packaging. The Carbios process heraldas “a real transition to a circular economy,” paving the way for recycling PET fibers. The technology is backed by beverage industry heavyweights, including LRS parent Suntory Beverage & Food Europe, as well as Nestlé Waters and PepsiCo.[Image Credit: © Suntory Beverage & Food Europe (SBFE)]


Robinsons Adds To Cordials Line With Superfuit Variant

Britvic fruit drink brand Robinsons is launching a premium Superfruit Cordials range in orange & acerola cherry and raspberry & goji berry flavors. The drinks, containing added vitamins and minerals but no artificial colors or flavorings, are packaged in premium glass 500 ml bottles (~$3.00). The launch of the sub-brand will be supported by a consumer PR-led campaign, comprising social media, radio, pop up shops, and in-store activity.[Image Credit: © Britvic PLC]


Carlsberg Launches Financial Probe Of Indian JV Partner

Carlsberg’s Indian joint venture South Asia Breweries is the focus of an investigation into possible financial irregularities, including incorrect payments, embezzlement, and kickbacks from customers. Tuborg entered India in 2006 by incorporating the JV with Nepal-based Khetan Group. The company has launched an internal audit of all processes related to permits and licenses, and has reopened previously closed investigations, regulatory filings show. The audit is being conducted under the supervision of Carlsberg Group’s global integrity committee. “We have, for some time, been engaged in a very difficult commercial conflict with our Indian JV partner about the repayment of a $43 million loan he owes us and his wish to sell his stake in the business early at an unreasonably high price,” a Carlsberg Asia representative said. [Image Credit: © Carlsberg Group]

Carlsberg’s “Betterment Campaign” In Hong Kong Uses New Recycling Machine

As part of a new eco-friendly “Betterment Campaign” campaign, created in part to encourage recycling of glass bottles, Carlsberg Brewery Hong Kong (Carlsberg HK) has introduced the Bottle Recycling Vending Machine encourages use by offering a range of rewards depending on how many bottles are recycled with it. The machines will accept all beer brands. The Betterment Campaign developed by ad agency McCann will include educational films, social content, and PR presenting green initiatives Carlsberg has undertaken including its comprehensive recycling program, more durable glass bottles, and greener ink.[Image Credit: © Carlsberg Group]


Suntory Hopes To Double Bottling Capacity For Globally Popular Roku Gin

Japanese beverage company Suntory Holdings says it will invest about $18.6 million to double bottling capacity for its increasingly popular gin Roku at a plant in Osaka. Roku is made with six Japanese botanicals, including, among others, the cherry blossom (sakura) flower and leaf. Suntory has exported Roku to 46 countries and regions, including India, Thailand, and China. In 2019, Suntory sold about 230,000 cases of Roku worldwide and hopes to raise that figure to more than one million cases in the medium to long term by adding to its production capacity. The company is speeding up overseas expansion to bolster growth as Japan's market ages and shrinks. Younger Japanese also drink less alcohol.[Image Credit: © SUNTORY HOLDINGS LIMITED]

As Coronavirus Restrictions Kick In, Czech Republic Breweries, Pubs Scrape By

Breweries in the Czech Republic, where residents drink a world-leading average 141 liters of beer per person annually, have been hard hit by coronavirus-induced pub closures. Pilsner Urquell and Budejovicky Budvar are no longer refilling kegs, are now storing their beer in cooled cellars, and have ramped up bottle and can production lines to offset a loss from keg sales. The Czechs implemented some of Europe's toughest restrictions to blunt the coronavirus spread. Especially hard hit are smaller breweries that rely on keg sales. The industry group representing small brewers has warned a quarter could go bust along many pubs and beer gardens due to the coronavirus lockdown.[Image Credit: © Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd]

In Japan And U.S., Suntory Begins Making Hand Sanitizers, Donating Them to Healthcare Facilities

Japan’s Suntory Group is helping to meet world demand for hand sanitizers to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In Japan, Suntory Holdings is providing neutral alcohol produced in Suntory Spirits’ Osaka Plant that is substitutable for disinfectant liquids in hospitals and healthcare facilities. The move comes after regulators temporarily lifted a ban on the use of liquids with high alcohol content as disinfectants in hospitals nationwide. Neutral alcohol will be delivered to hospitals and healthcare facilities in late April. In the U.S., Beam Suntory is producing hand sanitizers in its factory in Clermont, Kentucky, and donating them to first responders, medical professionals, and other essential service providers in the state.[Image Credit: © Suntory Group]


Suntory Launches Digital Transformation That Aims To Deliver Personalized Health Beverages

A subsidiary of Suntory Holdings will launch in July a new service for businesses that links sophisticated workplace beverage vending machines with an app on employees' smartphones offering individualized health advice to workers to adjust their habits and save company money on medical costs. In addition, the Suntory Beverage & Food app will provide Suntory with a mother lode of data on consumer buying habits and hints on how to change consumer behavior. To implement the plan, Suntory Holdings has begun recruiting technology talent – offering lucrative salaries – for the digital transformation. The company plans to bring in workers on temporary contracts, potentially offering compensation beyond the $186,000 to $279,000 a year salaries typical in the tech industry. "The time will come when people will be able to choose personalized health foods and beverages," said CEO Takeshi Niinami.[Image Credit: © SUNTORY HOLDINGS LIMITED]


Philippines M&A Regulator Okays Sale Of Pepsi Shares To Lotte Chilsung

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has given permission to Korean firm Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co. to proceed with its acquisition of shares in Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc. (PCPPI). The Commission ruled that the proposed shares acquisition “will not likely result in a substantial lessening of competition.” PCPPI and Lotte sought the approval of the PCC for Lotte’s move to acquire full control of the beverage firm. According to reports, there are no plans relating to PCPPI that will result in any merger, reorganization, or liquidation of the company. In February, The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stopped the tender offering of Lotte, controlling stockholder of PCPPI, to minority shareholders of the publicly-listed beverage firm, “pending the resolution of certain issues related to the tender offer.” Lotte was also directed to “allow the shareholders who tender their shares to withdraw the same.”[Image Credit: © LOTTE CHILSUNG BEVERAGE CO.,LTD]


Suntory Set To Launch RTD Cocktails In Taiwan

Expanding on its success in the category in Japan, distiller Suntory Holdings is introducing canned RTD cocktails – “alcopops” – in Taiwan as it hopes to attract customers not typically fans of alcoholic drinks. The RTD beverage category has doubled in Japan over the past decade, while the domestic beer market shrank in 2019 for the 15th straight year. Market research has persuaded the company that demand for RTDs will grow steadily in Asia, up 37 percent by 2023 from 2019. The company is targeting male Taiwanese beer drinkers over 30 years old with its -196 C Strong Zero beverage. Suntory became the world's third-largest spirits maker after it acquired U.S. distiller Jim Beam in 2014.[Image Credit: © SUNTORY HOLDINGS LIMITED]

Suntory Enters Japan’s Cherry Blossom Wood Finished Whisky Market

Capitalizing on a burgeoning trend, Suntory has released its version of a Sakura (cherry blossom) wood finished whisky made at their Chita grain distillery. Competition in the category comes mainly from distillers like small Nagahama distillery (Amagahan Yamazakura), Mars Shinshu (Sakura Cask Finish), Matsui (Sakura Cask), and Kamiki Sakura. The trend is growing and Japan's cherry blossom trees are showing up more and more as a maturation component whisky distilling. Suntory’s release will be highly limited and only available in Japan.[Image Credit: © SUNTORY HOLDINGS LIMITED.]
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