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Bottler News

Tracking Competitor Developments


Asahi Continues To Invest In Europe With $280M Expansion Plan For Its Hungarian Unit

Asahi is beginning to implement its plan to expand investment in Europe. Following the sponsorship of the Rugby World Cup, it’s investing around US$280 million in Dreher Breweries, its Hungarian business, to help it grow its premium brands and maintain scale generally in Europe. Some of the investment will be spent on updating Dreher’s equipment and expanding storage space. Asahi acquired Dreher from AB InBev in 2017. Dreher holds almost a third of Hungary’s beer market. A major factor behind the investment is an intention to expand Asahi’s exposure in Europe’s premium beer market. Asahi’s average unit price in European in the first three quarters of 2023 grew 15 percent year-on-year versus 9.5 percent in Japan. 

Non-Alcoholic Retailer In US Receives Series A Investment From Asahi Group

US non-alcoholic drinks retailer The Zero Proof’s Series A funding round included an undisclosed investment from Asahi Group Holdings through the Asahi Group Beverages & Innovation venture arm. The Zero Proof says it will use the funds to expand its sales and distribution operations, grow its retail accounts and wholesale portfolio, and expand its own range of non-alcoholic spirits and wine. Asahi globally wants 15 percent or more of its sales to come from “non- and low-alcohol” options by next year, and 20 percent for its Asahi Europe & International unit by 2030. 

AEI’s Octopi Brewing Acquisition Will Allow Asahi To Brew Super Dry In The US

By acquiring Octopi Brewing, a Wisconsin-based contract brewer and co-packer, Asahi Europe and International aims to brew Asahi Super Dry for the first time in the US. Octopi will be integrated within Asahi Beer USA and begin producing Asahi Super Dry and Kozel for North America. Victoria Segebarth from AEI said the investment was a “major step forward in accelerating the growth journey of our global brands, expanding awareness, reach and access across North America through existing and new on and off trade partners."


Russian Court Invalidates Agreement That Allowed Carlsberg To Sell Baltika Abroad

A Russian court has ruled that Carlsberg no longer has rights to sell the Baltika in some international markets after Moscow took control of Carlsberg’s stake in the Russian brewer. Baltika subsequently requested an arbitration court to invalidate the license agreement allowing Carlsberg to sell Baltika products to be used in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Mongolia and Turkmenistan. The court accepted Baltika's claim; Carlsberg have not responded. 


Carlsberg Boosts Domestic And International Business With Minority Stake In Danish Brewer

Carlsberg has acquired a 20 percent stake in Mikkeller, a Copenhagen-based brewing company and on-trade operator, allowing Carlsberg to distribute Mikkeller’s beers in Denmark. Peter Haahr Nielsen, CEO of Carlsberg in Denmark, said “we have an exciting portfolio of specialty beers, and with this partnership, we will be able to offer customers and consumers even more unique varieties in this category.” Carlsberg said it aims to retain Mikkeller’s “very particular characteristics”. Although Mikkeller has pulled back from international expansion, it still runs bars in London, Paris and Tokyo and says it operates in over 40 markets. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Suntory Exits Its Involvement In Indonesian Non-Alcoholic Beverage Business

Japan’s soft-drinks and food group Suntory Beverage & Food is disposing of its 75 percent stake in Suntory Garuda Beverage, its Indonesian non-alcoholic beverage business. SBF says it wants to concentrate on “the health enrichment category in Indonesia”. Suntory Garuda Beverage has non-alcoholic beverage manufacturing, bottling and distribution operations. The deal should conclude in this half of the year. 

Bottled RTD Segment A Major Focus For Beam Suntory

Ready-to-drink beverages is being seen by Beam Suntory as an opportunity with On The Rocks, its bottled cocktail brand, passing 600,000 nine-liter cases in sales in 2023. Heather Boyd, managing director for the US RTD business, said OTR, acquired by Beam Suntory in 2020, was “born out of travel and leisure, and the hospitality industry” as well as with airline partnerships, and then consumers look for the product when home. Boyd sees a “real opportunity for us to continue to expand our travel and leisure presence” and that OTR has “opened up the premium-plus bottled segment”, which grew 47 percent in the year to date in the US. OTR will launch this year a Blue Hawaiian RTD made with Beam Suntory’s Cruzan rum coconut and pineapple. It’s described by Boyd as “the perfect companion to your beachside getaway or your backyard barbecue under the sun”. In a move aimed at boosting its RTD offerings, Beam Suntory took a minority stake last year in DeLola, a premium bottled cocktail brand launched by Jennifer Lopez and was involved in its development. Beam Suntory will also expand distribution in the US of Suntory’s Japanese RTD brand -196 as part of an international rollout that will see it in 15 markets this year. Boyd said that although bottled cocktails is the main focus, it might also explore canned RTD opportunities. 


Lotte Chilsung Opens Pop-Up Store In Vietnam For Its Saero Zero Sugar Soju Brand

Lotte Chilsung Beverage has opened a pop-up store for Saero zero sugar soju in Vietnams’s Ho Chi Minh City to expand brand experience and engage better with Vietnam’s young consumers. It follows a successful pop-up store in Seoul, South Korea, marking the first anniversary of Saero’s launch. Designed to appear from the outside like a cave inhabited by Saero soju’s Gumiho character, the store features activities such as tastings, games and photo opportunities. 


Beam Suntory France Launched In January

Following a Fall 2023 announcement that it would establish a business in France, Beam Suntory officially launched Beam Suntory France in January 2024. General manager Anne Miller said the subsidiary aims to be France’s premium whisky leader with brands like Yamazaki, Hibiki, Laphroaig and Bowmore. Beam Suntory’s Yuri Grebenkin said the move marks “a significant expansion of Beam Suntory’s footprint in Europe and is an indication of our long-term confidence in the French market and the potential for our portfolio of premium brands”. According to the Scotch Whisky Association, France is the second largest international market by value, after the US.
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