Beer Monopoly



    International Reports






On our own behalf – The Beer Monopoly on the Forbes List „Best Booze Books of 2017“

We are speechless. Surprised. Humbled. Incredibly grateful. Our book The Beer Monopoly appears on this year`s Forbes List "Best Booze Books". No, no, it`s not the Forbes Rich List. Fat chance of us ever getting on to that one.
The list was compiled by Tara Nurin and can be found here >>


Posted August 2020 >> podcast

Italy – Brewers set new records – in 2019

Before covid-19 hit, Italy’s brewers were on a roll. 2019 saw beer production increase to 17.5 million hl (+5 percent) over 2018, causing domestic consumption to rise to over 20 million hl (+2.6 percent) and exports go up by 13 percent to over 3.5 million hl, according to AssoBirra, a trade body. The increase in beer output has boosted the entire sector, including small brewers, whose number is about 850. Collectively they saw a 3.8 percent growth in volumes compared with 2018. Read on

Mexico – Brewery closures (all but one) see beer output drop

From April to May this year, beer production in Mexico declined by about 60 percent over the same period last year. Brewers large and small suffered under the shutdown, which began on 5 April 2020, when the government decreed brewing as non-essential, and lasted until early June. However, this being Mexico, not all breweries were nailed shut. Somehow Constellation Brands, the exporter of Corona beer to the US, managed to brew up batches for the American market. Read on

Denmark – Carlsberg cuts jobs at headquarters and halts share buy-back

Carlsberg said on 13 August 2020 that it has suspended the second tranche of a share buyback and that it would cut an unspecified number of jobs at its head office in Copenhagen. Releasing first half figures, the Danish brewer said although drinkers had started to return to bars and restaurants in China and Western Europe over the summer, lockdowns are likely to keep sales subdued for the remainder of the year. Read on


Japan – Asahi to restructure businesses

For the six months through June 2020, Asahi’s operating profit fell 49 percent to JPY 45 billion (USD 421 million) as beer drinkers around the world avoided going out to bars, Asahi reported in August. Unlike its peers, Asahi still felt bold enough to issue a forecast for the full year: The owner of brands including Asahi Super Dry, Peroni and Pilsner Urquell forecast a 38 percent fall in annual operating profit to JPY 124 billion (USD 1.17 billion). Read on

South Korea – Consumer boycott of Japanese beers bites

Japanese brands, from beer to clothes, were hit hard by a consumer boycott in 2019, which was sparked – allegedly – by South Korean court rulings that allow assets of Japanese companies to be seized and used to compensate Korean victims of World War II-era forced labour. Japan retaliated by imposing curbs on exports of chipmaking materials to South Korea. Read on

Canada – Alcohol laws relaxed due to covid-19

Pundits wonder if Canada’s suddenly relaxed alcohol laws will make her cities more European. In an effort to help restaurants and bars survive during the pandemic, governments have relaxed patio regulations and alcohol laws. Observers say that there are restaurants advertising takeaway alcohol. Patios have been set up on pavements. People are seen having picnics in parks with a bottle of wine or a beer. Read on

Australia – No August beer tax hike

It is a bittersweet victory. The excise rates on alcohol didn’t go up in August. But not because the government relented and saw sense. It is because of a technicality. Excise rates are indexed twice a year in line with the consumer price index (CPI). This usually means the tax on alcohol goes up every February and August. The second increase for this year was scheduled for 3 August, but didn’t happen. The Australian Taxation Office said: “The CPI indexation factor for rates from 3 August 2020 is 0.9850. As the factor is less than one, the rates do not change.” Brewers had called on the government to cancel the August increase to help an industry hit hard by covid-19 restrictions. Read on

Australia – IBA postpones convention and cuts staff

The Independent Brewers Association (IBA), which represents the country’s 600 craft brewers, has decided to postpone its convention, BrewCon, which was scheduled for 9 to 11 November 2020 on the Sunshine Coast. The IBA said on 5 August that the current situation with border lockdowns and virus outbreaks means that it had to be realistic about the ability for everyone to attend. Therefore, it made the decision to move the convention to August/September 2021 with the hope that the virus will be somewhat under control and its members will have recovered enough to be able to attend. Read on

The Netherlands - Heineken: glass half empty

Because of the global pandemic, Heineken saw a lot of declines in the first half of 2020: in beer sales, revenue and profit. So much so that it swung into a loss.

Heineken reported on 3 August that in the first six months of 2020 its beer volume dropped 11.5 percent. Its net revenue was down 19.2 percent to EUR 11.16 billion (USD 13.13 billion), as measured under international financial reporting standards (IRFS). Its preferred – read: better looking – measure of organic growth showed only a 15.5 percent hit. Read on

South Africa - Heineken and AB-InBev freeze investments

AB-InBev-owned SAB will no longer be investing ZAR 2.5 billion (USD 140 million) in its annual capital and infrastructure upgrade programme this year. Next year’s ZAR 2.5 billion capital expenditure is also under review. The investments included upgrades to operating facilities and systems, as well as the installation of new equipment at selected sites. Read on

United Kingdom - Diageo writes down assets

Although locked-down drinkers may have taken to mixing their own cocktails, this wasn’t enough to stop profit tumbling at the Guinness and Smirnoff owner Diageo. Reporting preliminary full year 2020 figures on 4 August 2020, the world’s major drinks company said that operating profit was down 47 percent to GBP 2.1 billion (USD 2.75 billion) in the year to the end of June. Most of the damage occurred in the final three months as countries across the world imposed strict lockdown rules. Read on

USA – Coke will launch a Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in Latin America

At long last, Coca-Cola is jumping on the hard seltzer bandwagon with a new brand, based on its sparkling water, Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, which will launch in Latin America later this year. Topo Chico is a well-known sparkling water company that has sourced and bottled water in Monterrey, Mexico, since 1895. It was bought by The Coca-Cola Company in 2017 for reportedly USD 220 million. The brand is popular in Mexico and in parts of Texas. Read on

USA – Boston Beer’s share price surges on hard seltzer sales

Boston Beer has been one of the stay-at-home winners. Boosted by strong sales of its Truly Hard Seltzer, Boston Beer delivered excellent second quarter 2020 results, even exceeding analysts’ expectations. In the quarter to the end of June, Boston Beer’s net turnover surged 42 percent to USD 452 million year-on-year, topping Wall Street’s estimates of USD 426 million. This was fuelled by a 39.8 percent jump in volume sales. Net income, meanwhile, rose 116 percent to USD 60 million. Following the announcement, Boston Beer’s stock climbed more than 20 percent to USD 828 per share on 24 July 2020. Read on

USA – Sales of hard seltzer continue to rise

With sales tripling in 2019, the low-calorie fruity boozy water continues to be a sensation. The segment leader, White Claw, owned by Mark Anthony Brands, now outsells Budweiser, while number two, Boston Beer’s Truly is bigger than Heineken. According to data published by Nielsen, White Claw commanded a 5 percent share of dollars within the beer category for the four-week period ending 27 June. Meanwhile, the second-ranking Truly is now bigger than Heineken, having surged to a 2.6 percent share. Read on

USA – Boston Beer agrees to new beer distribution laws in Massachusetts

Although Boston Beer is the looser, it still agreed to revised beer distribution laws in its home state of Massachusetts, which will allow small craft brewers to now choose their own distributor. Call it a leftover from Prohibition that even after it came to an end, in most states, brewers large or small still cannot legally sell directly to customers (outside their own taprooms, allowed in many states). Instead they must go through distributors. Read on

Belgium – AB-InBev takes charge for Africa

AB-InBev’s performance in the second quarter took a bad hit. Profits were down by a third, while beer sales declined about 17 percent, in line with turnover shrinking 17 percent to USD 10 billion year-on-year. In April, volume sales declined 32.4 percent, in May they were down 21.4 percent, but in June they grew by 0.7 percent, as countries began to ease lockdown regulations. AB-InBev said on 30 July 2020 that it was excited by the reopening of bars, but cautious given renewed restrictions in certain markets and a second ban on alcohol sales from mid-July in South Africa. Read on

United Kingdom – Keg beer’s miraculous rejuvenation?

Responding to accusations that it has re-labelled old kegs with new best-before-dates, Heineken has said that the unbroached kegs, which had been repatriated during the lockdown, have been kept in optimum conditions and are therefore fit to be redistributed. According to the website The Morning Advertiser, publicans had complained about receiving re-labelled kegs from the brewer ahead of the reopening of pubs. A spokesperson for Heineken was quoted as saying that the Dutch brewer has been very transparent about extending the best-before-date on its kegs. All its kegs will have the longer best-before-date on. Read on

Germany – Covid-19 pandemic sends beer sales tumbling

In the first half of 2020, beer sales fell 6.6 percent (or 3 million hl) to around 43 million hl compared with the same period 2019, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported on 30 July 2020. The figure doesn’t include non-alcoholic beers and malt drinks, as well as beer imported from countries outside the European Union (EU). 82.3 percent of total beer sales were destined for domestic consumption and were taxed. Exports to EU countries were down 18 percent in the first half. Read on



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