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Bottler News

Tracking Competitor Developments


“Beyond Beer” Business Generated $1B+ In 2020 For AB InBev

The non-beer brands – including Mike’s Hard, Flying Fish, and Bud Light Seltzer – grew by more than 40 percent in Q1 2021 to become what the company called a “‘fourth key category” between beer, wine, and spirits. The “beyond beer” category includes RTD alcohol, canned cocktails, hard seltzers, and flavored malt beverages. This fourth category is expected to grow by 45 percent between 2019 and 2024, and is estimated to grow to $58 billion in global sales by 2024, according to Euromonitor. While “beyond beer” was still a small chunk of AB InBev's overall $47 billion revenues in 2020, it delivered $1.2 billion and continued to accelerate in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. “Beyond beer” products include Brutal Fruit, Babe Wine, Cutwater Spirits, Nutrl, Skol Beats Secret, and Flying Fish.


Asahi Super Dry To Unveil 25.4-Ounce Can In U.S.

The Torrance, Calif.-based six-ingredient lager from Asahi Beer USA will be available in the new cans beginning in June. The company says Asahi Super Dry experienced significant demand increases for its 11.2-ounce can format across the U.S. market. An Asahi Beer USA spokesman said "the brand is underdeveloped in the convenience channel and this is the perfect package to introduce Asahi Super Dry to shoppers in that channel."

Asahi Buys Into New Zealand’s Premium Coffee Market

The Japanese brewer is acquiring Auckland’s Allpress, founded in 1989 by Michael Allpress with a coffee cart in Victoria Park and now operating in Australia, Japan, Singapore, and the U.K. With a major focus on selling fresh roasted coffee beans to cafes and restaurants, the company sells more than 1,500 tons of coffee beans annually worldwide, a figure Asahi pledges to grow in the future. Allpress also sells direct to consumers online and through more than a dozen Allpress cafes, including in Auckland and Christchurch. Michael Allpress will stay with the company as an “ambassador.”


Britvic Acquires Plant-Based Milk, Juice, Functional Shots Maker

The acquisition of Plenish gives Britvic, the U.K.’s top producer of branded still drinks and number two in carbonates, entry into a new category beyond key brands such as Robinsons, J2O, Fruit Shoot, R Whites, and Purdeys. Plenish, founded in 2012 by a New Yorker who couldn’t find sugar-free cold-pressed juices, has become one of the fastest growing plant-based milk brands. Its portfolio includes almond, oat, cashew, soya, hazelnut, and coconut milks. “The transaction is closely aligned with Britvic’s strategy of building a portfolio of soft-drinks brands for every consumer occasion and its focus on accessing new spaces in the soft drinks category,” the company stated.


Grimbergen Reopens Ancient Abbey Brewery

The Belgian beer brand has reopened the Grimbergen Abbey Brewery, founded nearly 900 years ago but closed in the eighteenth century when the building was destroyed in the French Revolution. The new Abbey Brewery near Brussels will combine brewing traditions drawn from the ancient books of the abbey’s library with innovative techniques to craft unique limited-edition batches of premium beers.’ Carlsberg Group, the global licensee of Grimbergen, says the brand is “at the very heart” of its growing portfolio of craft and specialty beer, a category seeing double-digit growth. The first brews to be produced at Grimbergen Abbey Brewery are Magnum Opus Brut Beer, Ignis Quadruple, and Astrum Pale Ale.


Budweiser Brewing Group Adds Price-Marked Packs To Lineup

The British AB Inbev unit has launched a price-marked format for single cans and 10-packs of its Stella Artois and Budweiser brands. Stella Artois 10 x 440 ml packs will retail at £11.99 ($16.97), Stella Artois 568 ml single cans at £1.99 ($2.82) and Budweiser 568 ml single cans at £1.89 ($2.68). The company said the new price-marked variants will allow wholesalers and retailers to “tap into the popularity of Stella Artois and Budweiser, capitalizing on the consumer trend towards at-home drinking.”

Michel Doukeris Takes The Helm At AB InBev

Doukeris will become the CEO of the world’s largest brewer on July 1, following the resignation of 15-year CEO Carlos Brito, who is credited as “the architect who led and built AB InBev into the world’s leading beer company,” according to board chairman Martin Barrington. As CEO, Brito oversaw InBev’s acquisition of Anheuser-Busch in 2008 to create AB InBev; followed by the acquisitions of Grupo Modelo in 2013 and SAB Miller in 2016. Fellow Brazilian Michel Doukeris is president of AB InBev’s North America Zone.

Carlsberg Beats Q1 Expectations With Help From China Beer Sales

Pandemic-shuttered pubs and restaurants in the U.K. and Europe dampened Carlsberg’s first quarter sales volumes, but a rebound in Chinese beer sales helped the Danish brewer beat analyst forecasts for the period. Volumes sold in China increased more than 50 percent compared with the first three months of last year and by 20 percent from the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, volumes declined by six percent in the more profitable Western European market, although the company had a "relatively good start to April" as on-trade business began to pick up. Total company sales between January and March hit $2.11 billion, compared to the $2.09 billion estimated by analysts.

Market News

Asahi Sees Bright Future In Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Following a pre-pandemic $20 billion beer brand acquisition binge that included Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, and Carlton Draught, Asahi is now paying attention to the new consumer focus on all things “wellness,” thanks in part to the COVID-19 crisis. Beer sales declined last year with pub closures, as sales of low and non-alcoholic drinks rose. Known in Japan for its flagship Super Dry beer brand, the company launched a low-alcohol product called Beery in March, using a European technology that recreates a beer beverage with reduced alcohol content. It aims to triple its ratio of beverages with 3.5 percent alcohol or less to 20 percent of its product mix by 2025.


Beam Suntory Debuts RTD Jim Beam Highballs In U.S.

The Jim Beam Classic Highball features a bourbon base blended with bubbly seltzer and a hint of citrus, while the Jim Beam Ginger Highball pairs bourbon with ginger ale. Both variants have an ABV of five percent and are positioned as an alternative to beer. The beverages are available in a four-pack (SRP $9.99) or as single 355 ml slender cans (SRP $2.50) at select U.S. retailers. Beam Suntory recently expanded its Pinnacle Vodka range with the introduction of Pinnacle Light & Ripe, a zero-sugar vodka line.
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