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Bottler News

Tracking Competitor Developments


Ribena And Lucozade Brands In Nigeria Now Under New Management

Suntory Beverage & Food Asia Pacific (SBFAP) has agreed to sell Suntory Beverage & Food Nigeria (SBFN) to Africa FMCG Distribution Limited (AFDL), subject to approvals, for around $14 million. The deal is expected to close in Q2. The deal will include the Ribena and Lucozade brands in the country. AFDL is owned by Chanrai Summit Group. ADL’s CEO, Sherring Thekekkara, said: “leveraging experience, streamlining supply chain, enhancing manufacturing, consistent innovation and improving seamless route to market etc will ensure that the Nigerian consumer continues to enjoy their favorite brands “Lucozade” and “Ribena” even more passionately.” Suntory Beverage & Food Limited partially acquired the brands in 2016, and then fully when GlaxoSmithKline’s Board approved the offer to sell its beverage bottling and distribution business.

Basil Hayden Launches New Smoky Spirit

Subtle Smoke is a new ultra-premium limited-time bourbon from Beam Suntory’s Basil Hayden brand. It offers a smoky taste created using hickory-smoked chips that are lit and the smoke pumped into the barrel. Jonathan Marks, Senior Brand Director for Global Small Batch Bourbon at Beam Suntory, said the new product proves that “bourbon can be complex and smoky, but doesn't need to be harsh." It’s available at premium spirits retailers nationally with a suggested retail price of $49.99 for a 750ml bottle. It can be served neat or on the rocks. 

Sauza Unveils Four RTD Cocktails

Beam Suntory’s Sauza brand has launched Mexican-inspired agave cocktails in a can, containing real fruit. The four flavors are Lime Crush, Tropical Twist, Strawberry Breeze and Black Cherry Smash. Each has an ABV of 8 percent and they are available at select retailers nationally. A 12-can variety pack has a suggested retail price of $17.99; a 6-can single-flavor pack is $9.99; and an individual 24-ounce can is $3.49.

Ambev Uses UBQ Materials’ Thermoplastic In Pilot

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Brazilian arm, Ambev is trialing thermoplastic packaging developed by UBQ Materials. AB InBev is considering extending the pilot to Europe as a means of reducing its carbon footprint. UBQ Materials uses unsorted solid waste destined for landfill to create an alternative to petroleum-based plastic or wood. The Brazilian pilot is expected to use more than 650kg of waste and avoid 5,800kg of CO2eq. UBQ Materials is expanding with a new facility in the Netherlands, which it expects will be operational by the end of 2022.


Carlsberg Is Exiting Russia

Following a strategic review of its operations in Russia, Carlsberg is disposing of Baltika, Russia’s largest brewer and an operation that accounts for nine percent of Carlsberg’s global sales. The decision comes in response to the Ukraine war and the humanitarian and refugee impact. Baltika will be omitted from the company’s financial results and treated as an asset held for sale. In March, Carlsberg announced it would no longer sell the Carlsberg brand in Russia nor further invest in the country. 


Limited Edition 1965 Precious Metals Whisky Launched In Travel Retail

Beam Suntory has unveiled the limited-edition Bowmore 1965 Precious Metals whiskey, exclusive to travel retail. It has produced just four bottles, with Dubai, Taipei, Hong Kong and Amsterdam airports receiving one each, displayed in presentation boxes designed by Master Craftsman John Galvin, and which draw on the legacy of the Bowmore distillery on Islay. Each oak box has a brass plaque made from the old Bowmore spirits safe, which dates from 1924. The recommended retail price is US$50,000. 

Danish Brewer Outlines How It Will Grow Its Portfolio

Carlsberg’s portfolio growth strategy is focused on four key categories. The SAIL’27 strategy aims to deliver 3-5% annual organic sales revenue growth in the coming years by developing opportunities in beer and beyond. It aims to leverage demand in the premium beer category, which is growing much faster than mainstream beer. This will involve greater differentiation than for mainstream brands, across sales execution and marketing, and will include its craft & specialty products, to build on the 11 percent annual volume growth it’s seen from the category. This growth pillar will include prioritizing super premium, especially 1664 Blanc, local craft and premium brands, and super premium brands like Grimbergen and Brooklyn. It will also focus on mainstream beer, the company’s core category, with attention given to local mainstream power brands with opportunities for premium line extensions. Alcohol-free is the third pillar, building on lines like Carlsberg 0.0 and development of Asian opportunities in this category. Finally, Carlsberg wants to grow beyond beer, in cider, hard lemonade and hard seltzers, like its 2020 launches of Garage and Somersby hard seltzers.

House of Suntory Partners With Lotte In Pop-Up Store In Changi Airport

Korean retailer Lotte Duty Free and House of Suntory have teamed up for a flagship limited-time pop-up in Terminal 3 at Singapore’s Changi International Airport. The central attraction is a circular event space for premium whiskies, led by Yamazaki 55. The recommended retail price for the company’s oldest whiskey is $65,000, but it has sold for much more at auction. Ahead of its whiskey-making centenary next year, Suntory aims to strengthen its premium whiskey portfolio and is building promotional activities in retail, including this initiative. The company also hopes to leverage any recovery in travel retail as the impact of the pandemic unwinds.


Suntory’s CEO Explains The Success of Jim Beam

In an interview with Jim Cramer, Takeshi Niinami, President and CEO of Suntory Holdings, talked about Jim Beam, the brand Suntory acquired in 2014 for $16 billion and which made it the world's third largest spirits manufacturer. Niinami credited the brand’s global success on improved quality from the "East meets West" collaboration between Japan and Kentucky, and the company’s investment in Jim Beam. Suntory has seen success from its RTD mixes, which benefit from its soft drinks and spirits expertise.

Truly Hard Seltzer Moves Into Vodka With Beam Suntory

Boston Beer Company’s hard seltzer brand is launching Truly Flavored Vodka as part of a partnership with Beam Suntory. It will be launched with three flavors: Strawberry Lemonade, Wild Berry and Pineapple Mango. Like its hard seltzer, the 30 percent ABV triple-distilled vodka will be made with cane sugar and will contain 99 calories in a 1.5-ounce serving. It will be sold nationally in select retailers in 50ml, 375ml, 750ml and 1 liter bottles. 
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