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Bottler News

Tracking Competitor Developments


Anheuser-Busch InBev To Distribute Beam Suntory Products In Brazil

The Belgian brewer’s Brazlian subsidiary AmBev confirmed that it will handle distribution of Beam Suntory's spirits portfolio in Brazil, including the Jim Beam and Maker's Mark brands. The deal expands Beam Suntory's footprint in the country and adds sales points for Teacher's as well as bourbons Jim Beam and Maker's Mark along with Spanish gin Larios. Beam Suntory entered Brazil with its own route-to-market distribution in 2019. One analyst said the deal with Beam Suntory is a further blurring of category lines for A-B InBev. The distribution area will include the states of São Paulo, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Rio Grande do Sul, and the Northeast. 


Asahi Breweries To Launch Carbonated Low-Alcohol Drink

The Japanese beverage company’s launch of Beery is a facet of its push to boost sales of products with a 3.5 percent ABV or lower by as much as 20 percent by 2025. Beery is a 0.5 percent alcoholic beer-flavored drink that will debut in March 2021 in Tokyo and several other prefectures, followed by a nationwide launch in June. It will be available in supermarkets, convenience stores and off-trade outlets. There is no plan to export the product, whose target market is “sober-curious adults who do not drink much.” Asahi will also launch a new extension product of its core brand Asahi SuperDry, the Asahi SuperDry Namajokkikan, a canned beer formulated to taste like the draft beers served at restaurants.


Suntory Beer To Focus On Three Brands In 2021, Including Alcohol-Free

The Japanese beer company says it will focus on building three key brands in 2021 as it battles a continuing decline in the beer market. Though this year the market will decline three percent, that’s a major improvement over 2020, which saw nine percent shrinkage. Alcohol-free beers will be one of the priorities for Suntory Beer: sales volume for its 0.0 percent ABV All-Free brand was 7.93 million cases in 2020 (up eight percent year on year), a trajectory Suntory wants to continue in 2021. Described as a “sparkling malt and hops beverage,” the drink uses natural mineral water from Japanese forests and natural ingredients, bypassing the fermentation process to create a specialty beer-like beverage. Other brand priorities include: The Premium Malt’s, whose sales dropped 27 percent in 2020; and Kin-Mugi, a beer-like product (five percent “rich malt”) sold in Japan. 


British Brewer Says New Glass Bottle Reduces Carbon Footprint

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (Wolverhampton, U.K.) says it has reduced the carbon impact of its glass bottles by 90 percent, thanks to a partnership with supplier Encirc, which will put a million of the new containers in circulation in the U.K. with Carlsberg Danish Pilsner. The company was able to reduce the carbon footprint by switching from a glass furnace to biogas, a renewable fuel made from waste organic materials. Recycled content in the glass was increased up to 100 percent. The company says the technology change could transform the bottle from the highest-carbon-impact packaging type to the lowest. 


Asahi Group Holdings Names New CEO To Oversee Pandemic Recovery

The Tokyo-based holding company expects its full-year operating profit to exceed 2019 levels and has named a new CEO to guide the company out of the pandemic slump it has experienced, especially in its on-trade beer business. Asahi was hit harder than rivals in Japan due to its dependence on keg sales to restaurants and bars, many of which were closed by the pandemic. The company expects an operating profit of $2.06 billion in 2021, up 60 percent from 2020 sales of $1.3 billion, a 33 percent slide. CFO Atsushi Katsuki will be promoted to CEO next month, replacing Akiyoshi Koji, who will become chairman. 

Carlsberg Hurt in 2020 By Pandemic-Related Slump In On-Trade Business

The Danish brewer, which posted an 8.4 percent drop in organic revenue in 2020, said the on-trade beer market was significantly impacted by lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings. Volumes in the on-trade channel, which accounts for 25 percent of Carlsberg’s volume, declined by more than 20 percent. However, craft and specialty volumes grew one percent, with Russia as a key driver. Alcohol-free brews grew 11 percent, as more consumers became increasingly concerned about health and wellbeing amid the pandemic. The company saw good results for recent alcohol-free launches, including Baltika Zero Grapefruit and Raspberry, Brooklyn Special Effects, and Somersby 0.0. Revenue was $9.42 billion in 2020, but the company said it delivered a “solid set of results despite COVID-19” and that the group’s financial situation remains strong.

Market News

President Of Suntory (China) Holding Says China Was A “Bright Spot” In 2020

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company’s global business slid by five percent in 2020. But China managed to buck that trend. According to Tetsuho Kikuchi, director president, the Chinese market turned out to be a rare bright spot where Suntory saw positive figures for 2020, as it did in 2019. This was due to the country’s effective prevention and control of the pandemic and the steady economic recovery. And because of that surprising performance, Suntory hopes to further increase sales in China from around $310 million to $3.1 billion over the next decade, expanding business from the eastern part to the whole country. Kikuchi said China is “the most important market in the world, and Suntory wants to keep pace with China’s growing economy.”


Beam Suntory Posts “Flat” Net Sales For 2020

The Chicago-based spirits marketer Beam Suntory reported stagnant net sales for 2020, despite Jim Beam surpassing 11 million cases for the first time. The owner of brands such as Courvoisier Cognac and Sipsmith gin said net sales for its 2020 full year were “flat,” thanks to the pandemic, which led to lower sales in markets including Spain, India, China, South Africa, and global travel retail. The company said a rebound in growth during the second half of 2020 offset lower sales in the first six months. The firm saw net sales decline three percent in the first half of 2020. Sales increased by four percent in the U.S., due to “improved” movement in the on-trade business during the second half of 2020. The firm also said spirits continued to gain share from beer and wine.
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