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Bottler News

Tracking Competitor Developments


Ambev Posts Disappointing Fourth Quarter Financial Results

Fourth quarter results for Brazilian brewer Ambev SA showed a below-consensus drop of 45.6 percent in net income, blaming industry-wide deceleration, but claimed it was outperforming its peers. Volumes were 3.1 percent lower than the year-ago period, but the sector as a whole saw a high single-digit reduction. Net revenue was up 18.6 percent to 22.01 billion reais, but adjusted EBITDA fell 24.1 percent, with EBITDA margin down over 17 percentage points to 30.8 percent. 


Asahi To Close Two Japan Plants

Japanese brewer Ashai has decided to close two of its plants in the country next year as it consolidates operations and responds to changing market conditions. The Kanagawa Prefecture and Ehime Prefecture plants produce 300 million large bottles, preferred by restaurants and bars, between them each year. The company says people are not going out as often and the number of beer drinkers in Japan is likely to fall.


Asahi Super Dry Gets A Brand Makeover And New Recipe

Japan’s Asahi Super Dry brand is sporting a new brand image and a change in recipe for the first time since its 1987 launch. The new formulation is designed to improve aroma and drinkability, in response to changing palates, but it’s currently being limited to the Japanese market. The new branding accentuates the silver packaging and the brand’s dry characteristics. 


Carlsberg And Heineken Both Forecast Higher Beer Prices For Denmark

The two brewing giants have said higher beer prices will be driven by higher input and production costs. Carlsberg’s CEO Cees ‘t Hart told the Danish newspaper Børsen that it’s already talking to customers about raising beer prices. Heineken expects production costs to increase by some 15 percent but will try to keep beer price hikes below 10 percent.

Asia Is Carlsberg’s Next Focus For Alcohol-Free Opportunities

Carlsberg is looking to Asia to fuel its expansion in alcohol-free beverages, to build on the growth it’s generated in Europe, and especially Central and Eastern parts of the region. Carlsberg aims to more than double alcohol-free brew volumes. The company has launched Chongqing Beer AFB in China, and Carlsberg Alcohol Free in Singapore and Hong Kong. In Singapore, it introduced Alcohol Free Pilsner and Alcohol Free Wheat, both with less than 0.5% ABV. 


Asahi, Coca-Cola Team Up For Australia’s First PET Recycling Plant

Coca-Cola and Asahi have built Australia’s first PET plastics recycling facility. The Albury bottle-to-bottle plant cost $45 million and has capacity for some 1 billion bottles a year. Other partners included Pact Group and Cleanaway Waste Management. It was partly funded by the federal and New South Wales governments, with a contribution from the recycling modernization fund, which is involved in around 90 projects. The joint venture group will build a second PET recycling facility in Melbourne, with completion expected next year. 

Britvic Opens Digital Studio In U.K.

As it intensifies its online presence and implements its global digital strategy, Britvic has opened a digital content studio, called Infused, at its Hemel Hempstead U.K. head office. The new studio will expand online content for five of its brands – Tango, The London Essence Company mixers line, Purdey’s, Mathieu Teisseire syrups and Aqua Libra – with rollout to additional brands later. Britvic will work with digital agencies Tag and The&Partnership as hybrid in-house partners in collaborative teams. Matt Barwell, Chief Marketing Officer, said Infused will “deliver a new agile dedicated environment to uncover data driven, best in class, growth focused opportunities.” 

Suntory To Expand In Southeast Asia, India To Offset Lower Demand Trends in Japan

Responding to a shrinking and aging population in its domestic market, Japanese drinks manufacturer Suntory Holdings is looking to expand its operations in India and Southeast Asia. It might seek contract production partners to augment production at its own whisky distillery in India, which produces the Oaksmith brand, launched there in 2019. Suntory also aims to introduce premixed alcoholic drinks in India. In April, it will start exporting its Sui gin to Southeast markets, including Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and South Korea. It will be the first time the brand will be sold outside Japan. 

Carlsberg’s 2021 Results Are “Well Ahead” of 2019

Danish brewer Carlsberg reported financial year 2021 results that are better than those for pre-pandemic 2019 but expects 2022 organic operating profit growth of 0-7 percent, below 2021’s 12.5 percent. Sales were up 13.8 percent on a reported basis versus 2020, with volume up 9.3 percent. The company expects to raise prices this year to offset input cost inflation but acknowledges this could impact sales volumes. 2021 revenues were up almost 18 percent in the Western Europe region; the Asia region saw marked differences in performance between markets. Beer volumes were up 12.3 percent, driven predominantly by China and India. Other beverage volumes were up over 10 percent on growth in soft drinks and energy drinks in Cambodia. Central & Eastern Europe’s results were “solid.” 

Market News

Suntory Exits Oceania Fresh Coffee Business

Suntory Beverage & Food is to dispose of its fresh coffee business to UCC ANZ Management, a subsidiary of UCC Coffee, for $229 million. The deal covers Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. It should be completed by mid-2022. The business is ANZ’s largest coffee roaster and includes brands like Toby’s Estate, Atomic, L’affare and Robert Harris. The decision comes after the company’s strategic review. Based in Japan, UCC manages coffee estates, imports and procures raw ingredients, and is also involved in R&D, manufacturing, distribution and sales. It also has offices in other Asian centers, Europe and the Americas. 


Suntory Beer To Implement Artificial Intelligence System To Detect Anomalies

The brewer is putting in place an AI solution to detect anomalies on a new can filling line at the Natural Water Beer plant in Kyoto, Japan. It is working with NEC Corporation to implement the NEC Advanced Analytics-Invariant Analysis system, set to go live in a few months. The system collects and analyzes large volumes of time-series data from sensors at the plant. Comparing discrepancies between the predicted and actual data will identify "irregular" events at an early stage. It will also use microphones near the fillers and analyze unexpected sounds.

2021 Beam Suntory Sales Up 11 Percent On Shift To premium Spirits

Beam Suntory reported 11 percent sales growth in 2021 as demand shifted to high-end spirits, such as its Knob Creek bourbon, which has started selling 12- and 15-year whiskies. U.S sales were high single digits, and sales by wholesalers to retailers rose double digits. Bowmore Scotch volumes grew 16% and sales 50%. A single bottle of Bowmore was sold for over half a million dollars at the December 2021 Distillers’ One of One charity auction. The company is privately owned, and financial disclosure is voluntary, but it said that the company wasn’t as badly affected by the pandemic as many companies and so the recovery is less marked too. It has, however, faced many of the challenges faced by the industry, with glass supply constraints restricting supplies of Jim Beam bottles and input cost inflation putting pressure on margins. Some brands raised prices twice last year, especially in the U.S., and the company could take pricing actions again this year. Beam Suntory is also looking to take advantage of consumer trends that are raising demand for ready-to-drink options, such as premixed cocktails. 
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