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 DECEMBER 2017
Mozambique – Heineken steps into AB-InBev’s monopoly
The days of Africa’s comfy beer monopolies seem to be numbered. Having gate-crashed Castel’s turf in Ivory Coast last year, Heineken is doing the same in Mozambique. The world’s number two brewer will build an 800,000 hl brewery near the capital Maputo, it was reported in early December 2017. The brewery represents an investment of USD 100 million and will go on stream in 2019.
The market has been a virtual monopoly since South Africa’s SAB bought two privatised breweries in 1995. In 1998 the country’s third brewery, Reunidas, was privatised too and acquired by a consortium of France’s Castel, Guinness and local investors (that included the management and workforce) for USD 8 million. It was renamed Laurentina.
However, the duopoly was only a brief interlude. In 2002, Castel’s subsidiary BIH sold the nearly bankrupt Laurentina brewery to SABMiller, which shut the brewery down, causing about 400 workers to lose their jobs.
SABMiller said at the time that BIH had decided to pull out because the market was not big enough to support two brewers.
USA – Spain’s brewer Mahou buys into craft brewer Avery
AB-InBev may be out of the picture as a shopper of craft brewers, but this does not stop others from clinching deals. Colorado’s Avery Brewing on 29 November 2017 announced the sale of a 30 percent stake to Mahou San Miguel, a Spanish brewing company founded in Madrid in 1890.
Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed. But insiders suspect that with AB-InBev no longer a potential buyer, the pricing pendulum has swung back towards the “old” valuation range (USD 1,000 per barrel beer sold), or possibly even lower figures.
Founded in Boulder, Colorado, in 1993, Avery is the second US investment for Mahou, which purchased a 30 percent stake in Michigan’s Founders Brewing Company, located in Grand Rapids, in 2014. Read on
Vietnam – Government seeks windfall from sale of brewer SABECO
The long-delayed sale of a stake in SABECO, the country’s biggest brewer, has finally been set for 18 December 2017. The government hopes it will rake in at least USD 5 billion. It’s widely assumed that many foreign firms – from Japan’s Asahi to Belgium’s AB-InBev – have shown an interest in SABECO, or Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp, since it was earmarked for privatisation. Heineken currently holds a 5 percent stake in the Vietnamese firm.
But the foreigners’ eagerness was served a low blow when SABECO’s share price went through the roof (it has tripled since its December 2016 listing) and the government put a cap on foreign ownership, limiting it to 49 percent. Read on
USA – AB-InBev sends town crier to craft brewer with cease and desist order
Lo and behold, AB-InBev’s lawyers have a sense of humour. After the small craft brewer Modist from Minneapolis, Minnesota, started selling a Double IPA called “Dilly Dilly” on 1 December 2017 – which mocks the recent Bud Light ad campaign wherein medieval monarchs toast while uttering (the copyrighted phrase) “dilly dilly” in unison – AB-InBev felt compelled to issue a cease and desist order at around lunchtime the same day. In keeping with the medieval theme of the Bud campaign, AB-InBev sent a town crier, dressed in period clothes, to deliver the writ. Read on
USA – Beer or cannabis? That is the question
From hops to weed could become the next logical career move. In the US, many alcohol companies have already noticed that beer sales are slowing more markedly in states where recreational pot is legal, than in others.
Among the first to make the transition from beer to weed is Chris Burggraeve, 52, the former Global Chief Marketing Officer of AB-InBev, who left the company in 2012. He has already made two investments in the marijuana industry. Most recently, he joined the advisory board of GreenRush.com Group. The San Francisco-based start-up, which aims to be the Amazon of weed, completed an USD 3.6 million fundraising round in November 2017. Read on
USA – Craft Beer clocks in sales hike in declining market
In 2017, the overall beer market is to see a 1.5 percent decline in volume, but craft should enjoy 5 to 6 percent growth, according to the Brewers Association (BA). Though rising still, craft beer’s growth rate will be below the double-digit rate of the previous decade. Nonetheless, the volume growth compares favourably with the forecasted decline in the overall beer category. There are also signs that the second half of the year has been a little bit better than last year, the BA said. Read on
Belgium – EU Commission accuses AB-InBev of anti-competitive practices
For AB-InBev, it may just be a measure to stop cheaper parallel imports of its brands. But the antitrust body of the European Commission disagrees. On 30 November 2017 the European Commission informed AB-InBev of its preliminary view that the company has abused its dominant position on the Belgian beer market, by hindering cheaper imports of its Jupiler and Leffe beers from the Netherlands and France into Belgium.
AB-InBev is the world’s major beer brewer and the market leader in Belgium. Its most popular beer brands in Belgium are Jupiler and Leffe. Brewed in Belgium, AB-InBev also exports these two brands to the Netherlands and France.
The Commission’s investigation has shown that in these two countries AB-InBev sells Jupiler and Leffe at lower prices than in Belgium, due to the increased competition it faces there. Read on
Belgium – Europe’s beer renaissance continues
With EU beer production rising above 400 million hl for the first time since the 2008 economic crisis, the Brewers of Europe (BoE), a trade body, reported on 30 November 2017 that the number of microbreweries in Europe has tripled to over 8,500 since 2010. Each week, 20 microbreweries open in Europe; 1,000 were launched in 2016 alone.
When it comes to beer production, Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK are the largest producers in the EU. Read on
United Kingdom – Heineken buys London’s Brixton Brewery
For the Big Brewers a London craft brewery has become a must-have. After AB-InBev bought Camden Town, Asahi took on the Meantime Brewery, and Carlsberg acquired the London Fields Brewery, it was finally Heineken’s turn.
The number one brewer in the UK, on 28 November 2017, bought a minority stake in the Brixton Brewery to help it expand capacity and move to a new site. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 2013 by two couples, Brixton Brewery presently sits under a railway arch in south London. As space is tight, the owners started looking for a new and larger site. However, industrial real estate in central London is the rarest of commodities and the owners were lucky to find a lot just 600 metres from their current brewery. Once the new brewery is built, Brixton’s capacity will go up to 15,000 hl from 3,000 hl. Read on
Australia – AB-InBev buys craft brewer Pirate Life
And another craft brewer goes to AB-InBev. After acquiring Sydney’s 4 Pines in September 2017, AB-InBev has snapped up Adelaide’s Pirate Life, media reported on 30 November 2017.
AB-InBev became the owner of Australia’s brewer CUB last year when it bought SABMiller, which in late 2011 cemented an USD 12 billion takeover of Foster’s Group, the long-time owner of CUB. CUB is the market leader with a market share of about 46 percent, ahead of rival Lion, which has 42 percent.
Although the transaction value was not disclosed, AB-InBev said it will inject AUD 10 million (USD 7.6 million) into Pirate Life’s new brewery, to be built in nearby Port Adelaide. Its current brewery will become a site dedicated to creating new beers, including sours, seasonal and barrel-aged products. Read on
China – Beware of fake wines
In November 2017, Chinese authorities seized 14,000 bottles of counterfeit wines, labelled with the Australian brand Penfold’s, and arrested 13 people, following a complaint from Penfold’s parent company Treasury Wine Estates (TWE).
Rawson’s Retreat, Bin 128 and Grange were amongst the brands counterfeited and distributed via the giant Alibaba website Taobao. A genuine bottle of Grange from the Noughties usually costs several hundred dollars.
What raised TWE’s suspicions was that retailers were charging “extraordinarily low prices” for Penfold’s wines, with some going for as little as 200 yuan (USD 30) per bottle online, while they should retail for 600 to 3000 yuan (USD 90 to USD 450). Read on
China - Asahi to begin distributing Pilsner Urquell and Peroni
As Chinese beer consumers continue to trade up, imported beers have risen in popularity next to domestic high-end brands. Observers say the import segment of the Chinese beer market already controls 4 percent.
Seeking to cash in on the trend, Japan’s Asahi announced at the end of November 2017 that it will market the Czech beer brand Pilsner Urquell and Italy’s Peroni beer in Shanghai and other cities. It seeks to target younger drinkers who frequent upscale supermarkets and restaurants. Read on