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Bottler News

Tracking Competitor Developments


AB InBev Introduces Lightweight Beer Bottle

The Leuven, Belgium-based brewer’s new glass bottle weighs only 150 grams, down from 180 grams, cutting CO2 emissions by 17 percent per bottle. If used for a year by all of its European glass bottle beer brands – Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona, Beck’s, and Leffe – it would reduce as much CO2 emission as taking 62,000 cars off the road each year.The bottle was developed by AB InBev’s Global Innovation and Technology R&D Centre, GITEC in Leuven.


Japanese Beer Makers Battle Bar Lockdowns With Canned Brews

Bashed by the drop in beer consumption thanks to pandemic-induced restaurant and bar closings, Japanese brewers have turned to canned brews to bolster sales. The strategy is working: sales of Kirin’s canned craft beer products grew by 30 percent last year. Asahi Breweries, whose overall beer sales plunged 16 percent last year, has a new can with a removable top, allowing Super Drye beer to be chugged like an ice-cold mug. The beer sold out within days of being released in convenience stores and supermarkets. The can’s interior coating has fine protrusions that generate delicate bubbles and a smoother head, as well as a top that can be torn off entirely to emulate a pint glass. Canned beers in general are doing well in Japan, thanks to tax cuts for regular beer and a surge in household alcohol consumption. 


India Examines The Books Of Carlsberg Unit

The government of India is inspecting the account books of the local unit of Carlsberg A/S, following allegations of potential fraud. The Registrar of Companies has asked Carlsberg India for its response and is preparing to summon the board of directors soon. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which quit as auditor of Carlsberg India in November, subsequently complained to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Carlsberg’s joint venture partner – Nepal-based Khetan Group – had in 2019 written to the Indian ministries of Corporate Affairs and Commerce alleging that Carlsberg India was offering illegal trade discounts and engaging in potentially fraudulent practices for sales promotion. “We continue to be in a difficult dispute with the JV partner in India,” Carlsberg said. 

Carlsberg Implements Performance-Enhancing Software At Global Breweries

The Danish brewer is deploying a software suite based on Microsoft Azure to accelerate time-to-value and enable the long-term exchange and maximizing of information and to boost the performance of 28 of its breweries in Europe and Asia. The suite, comprised of the ThingWorx Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), is a response to Carlsberg’s need for a way to track and document the transformation of raw materials into finished goods. PTC’s Digital Manufacturing Solution Suite, purpose-built for industrial environments, delivers the functionality, flexibility, and agility needed to rapidly deploy IoT use cases.

Carlsberg China Makes Good Use Of Country’s Online Delivery Services

Forced to work closely with China’s online beer delivery platforms during the pandemic, the brewer says it is sticking with that strategy even as the pandemic subsides. Beer sales in China topped $24 billion in 2019, making it the company’s biggest market. The company works closely with on-demand delivery platforms such as Meituan, Ele.me, and JD-Daojia. The collaborations enabled the brewer to boost operating profit by 21 percent growth and volume by three percent last year. Carlsberg, based in Huizhou, Guangdong province, is one of two foreign beer brands that have made it into China’s top five. The overall industry’s sales volume declined during this period, especially during the first half of 2020.

Carlsberg Group Expands Craft Brew Franchise Business In Russia

The Danish brewer plans to quadruple the number of craft beer franchise stores in Russia this year, according to reports. Twenty-eight stores are operating in Russia under the Tank & Hopper brand, a franchise network associated with Carlsberg’s Hoppy Union subsidiary. The first Tank & Hopper store opened in 2019 St. Petersburg, with the minimum investment for a franchisee estimated at around $21,000.


Strong Demand Pushes Suntory Spirits To Double Sales Forecast For No-Alcohol Drink

The Osaka-based producer said it has more than doubled the 2021 sales forecast for its ready-to-drink (RTD) can, Nonaru Evening Drink Lemon Sour Non-Alcoholic, from 980,000 cases (24 250 ml bottles/cans) to more than two million cases. Demand for the alcohol-free variant, whose lemon aroma comes from a non-alcoholic extract of shōchū, is being driven by an increase in health-conscious consumers seeking non-alcoholic alternatives, the company said. To meet demand, Suntory has released the RTD beverage in six-packs. The company will release the beverage in a 500 ml cans on September 7.

Asahi Debuts Hard Seltzers In U.K.

The company is positioning its four percent ABV Viper Hard Seltzer as a premium option in two variants, lime and cranberry, and is made without artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives. The 96-calorie seltzer is available in both cans and bottles. In the U.S., the hard seltzer category will surpass an earlier forecast of 281 million case sales by 2023 this year.

Suntory Beverage Invests Another $8M In British Factory

Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I announced it will spend an additional $8.3 million to improve the bottling production line in its Coleford factory in Gloucestershire, making it more energy- and water-efficient and reducing the company’s global carbon footprint. Suntory, which last year committed $18 million to improvements in the factory’s production line, says the new money will also be used to develop a bottle made of recycled plastic for its Lucozade drinks. A Suntory executive said the investment in the Lucozade brand “makes the U.K.’s biggest sports drink brand also one of the most sustainable.”


Carlsberg Malaysia Asks That Its Breweries Be Allowed To Operate In Phase 2 Of Recovery Plan

The Kuala Lumpur-based company has asked the National Security Council to remove breweries from the negative list in the Council’s pandemic control standard operating procedures (SOPs). The company said brewing is regulated by the Malaysia Food Act of 1983 and it was asking that breweries be included within the food & beverages sub-sector’s positive list under manufacturing sectors. The company hopes it will be allowed to operate when Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan begins. According to Carlsberg Malaysia, it has taken further measures beyond the National Security Council’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent workplace COVID infections. In related news, the company, which temporarily suspended the operations of its brewery in Shah Alam from June 2, will keep the brewery closed until further notice.


Beam Suntory Partners With Boston Beer Company To Extend Select Brands

The mission of Chicago-based spirits maker Beam Suntory’s long-term partnership with craft brewer Boston Beer (Boston, Mass.) is to extend select iconic brands into some of the fastest-growing beverage alcohol segments. The companies initially plan to launch products that bring the Sauza tequila brand further into ready-to-drink beverages (RTDs), and Truly Hard Seltzer into bottled spirits. The first new products resulting from this partnership will be available across consumer retail channels in the U.S. by mid-2022, with plans to expand across more key brands in the future.

Suntory Holdings Wants To Cut Its Carbon Footprint

The Tokyo-based beverage company is investing about $900 million by 2030 to cut its carbon footprint. It will spend the money on setting up solar panels,and shifting to plant-based fuels for the boilers in its whisky distilleries. Under the plan, 60 plants and other sites in Japan, the Americas, and Europe will be 100 percent powered by renewable energy by the end of next year – a big jump from 30 percent now.

IoT System At Suntory Water Plant In Japan Speeds Up Troubleshooting

The new Internet of Things (IoT) system was implemented at the Kita-Alps Shinano-no-Mori Water Plant in Nagono Prefecture, which manufactures Suntory Tennensui Kita-Alps, a bottled water product in 550 mL and 2L. Designed with the help of Hitachi, the system took two years from conceptualization to integration. It quickly collects, connects, and integrates data from production facilities and equipment, as well as from IT systems for procurement, production, quality management, and shipment. Performance indicators – machine efficiency, water usage, energy usage, and maintenance performance – can be generated and reported to allow constant quality improvements and improve overall competitiveness.

Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I Launches Promo For Lucozade, Ribena Brands

SBF GB&I (U.K.) has launched a text-to-win consumer promotion across its Lucozade Energy, Lucozade Sport, and Ribena brands. The in-store summer activation will run for six weeks and offer a chance to win a bevy of prizes. The promotion will include in-store point-of-sale materials such as display units and posters. Prizes include camping trips, BBQ experiences, and bike rides. In addition, one lucky retailer will have the chance to win a summer’s worth of soft drink stock across the three brands to mark the start of the consumer promotion. 

Beam Suntory Expands Jim Beam Portfolio In U.S. Orange-Flavored Variant

Jim Beam Orange, made with orange liqueur and Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, is said to have a zesty aroma, and is best served in a chilled shot glass or in a highball cocktail. The new variant, with a 32.5 percent ABV, joins the brand’s U.S. portfolio of flavored bourbon whiskey that includes black cherry, honey, peach, apple, and vanilla varieties. It is available at select retailers nationwide for an RRP of $15.99 per 750ml bottle.
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