Beer Monopoly



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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 2019

Australia – CUB buys craft brewer Balter

It is a ridiculous amount of money. Allegedly, CUB paid between AUD 150 million and AUD 200 million (USD 140 million) for craft brewer Balter, which could be selling 50,000 hl beer this year. As with previous takeovers by AB-InBev/CUB, the sum will be payable over five years and ultimately depends on whether certain sales targets are met. On a per hl basis, Balter fetched far more than the current going rate for craft brewers in the United States. Read on

USA – What is next for Constellation’s cannabis investment?

Constellation Brands didn’t waste any time with Ballast Point. Once a buyer had been found for its underperforming craft brewer, Constellation cut the line. Will its billion dollar investment in cannabis firm Canopy Growth share the same fate? Media report that Constellation had struggled to grow Ballast Point as a national craft beer brand, while competing with thousands of upstart local breweries. Over the past two years, Constellation had to shutter several brewpubs and write down Ballast Point’s trademark value by more than USD 200 million to USD 17 million. Read on

Belgium – Number of breweries in EU rises to over 10,000

Thanks to the rise of craft beer, there were more than 10,000 breweries operating in the European Union in 2018, up from 4,800 in 2012, according to figures released by the Brewers of Europe in December 2019. France alone has increased the number of breweries in the country by 45 percent between 2017 and 2018, from 1,100 to 1,600. If we were to include the non-EU countries of Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, the total brewery count would hit 11,300. Incidentally, beer production volumes have also gone up, surpassing the 400 million hl mark in the EU for the first time in a decade. Read on

USA – More than 8,000 breweries operating in 2019

Faced with New Belgium’s exclusion from its tables, the Brewers Association (BA) in its year-end statement has reiterated its estimate that a 4 percent growth in beer production for small and independent breweries seems likely for 2019. Following the sale of craft brewer New Belgium to Australia’s brewer Lion in November, industry pundits suggested that volume growth for all those craft brewers that are acknowledged by the BA, could turn negative for the first time. In 2017 and 2018 already, annual growth rates had slowed to 4 percent. Read on

Germany – Officious tax men threaten deposit system for beer bottles

Germans are a tidy lot. They separate their garbage and take their return-refill bottles back to the shops to reclaim the deposit. Hence brewers see more than 80 percent of the country’s 3 billion beer bottles return to source. Some bottles are refilled up to 30 times. But some overzealous bureaucrats are threatening this system. In terms of taxation they want generic return-refill bottles being treated differently from proprietary beer bottles. The German trade publication Lebensmittelzeitung broke the story in early December 2019. Read on

France – The bigger picture: IBD Masterclass “Sustainability”

The 2019 word of the year is “climate emergency”, according to Oxford Dictionaries. Thanks to Greta, Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion, many people have been thrown into abject gloom. In escalating crisis mongering, climate warriors have told us that “We probably don’t even have a future anymore.”

Answering to Extinction Rebellion’s call that “our survival is going to take everything we’ve got”, consumers in the rich countries have begun to frantically investigate their own behaviour and how it affects climate change. But is the advice “Don’t invest in fossil fuel companies. Don’t drive. Don’t fly. Reduce, re-use, refurbish, recycle everything” really feasible? When will we be told to go without central heating, gas stoves, electric lights and smart phones?

Brewing companies, with some relief, will have taken note of The Guardian’s list of the world’s top 20 polluters, which was published in October 2019. They were not on it. Fossil fuel companies are responsible for a third of all carbon emissions globally. Read on



Thailand – ThaiBev rumoured to mull beer IPO in Singapore next year

Is this a first step towards some sort of merger with AB-InBev? Media reported on 29 November 2019 that Thai Beverage (ThaiBev), Southeast Asia’s major brewer, is planning to spin off some regional beer assets in an initial public offering (IPO) in Singapore next year. Read on

Thailand – Why ThaiBev may spin off its beer business

Given that valuations for pure-play brewers in Asia are higher than for brewers with a diversified beverage portfolio, it would make sense for ThaiBev to seek a separate listing for its beer interests in Thailand and Vietnam. Read on

Vietnam – Southeast Asian beer market expected to grow in mid-single digits

Euromonitor says that the beer scene in Southeast Asia is booming. Beer consumption is expected to grow 5 percent annually up to 2023 from 90 million hl in 2017, with the Philippines and Vietnam being the key drivers for growth. As China and Japan have seen beer volumes decline, the Asian subregion, including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, has emerged as the next frontier for global brewers. Read on

Japan – Investor criticises Kirin’s diversification strategy

The disgruntled UK-based investor FP has launched a campaign to persuade Kirin’s management to focus on beer and ditch the “unrealistic hope” that it can thrive as a conglomerate that also includes food, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. In the secretive world of finance, the open criticism by one of Kirin's largest shareholders, voiced via the Financial Times newspaper in November 2019, is akin to a palace revolt.Read on

USA – Constellation Brands offloads craft brewer Ballast Point

Four years ago, San Diego’s craft brewer Ballast Point took the beer world by surprise when it abandoned an IPO and accepted a USD 1 billion cheque from Constellation Brands. On 3 December 2019 it shocked fans again. Because Constellation, the country’s number three brewer (Corona), decided to sell Ballast Point to the little known craft brewer Kings & Convicts from Chicago. The sale price was not announced, but we may rest assured it was far less than what Constellation paid in 2015. Read on

USA – Coors Light sells holiday onesies

Good grief. Who wants to be seen wearing a onesie? Yet, Molson Coors is selling a holiday onesie, aka a full-body sweatsuit with a hood, a full-length zipper and two pockets, to help drinkers “embrace their post-holiday chill”.

According to a survey conducted on behalf of Coors Light, 94 percent of 21- to 27-year-olds plan to wear comfy clothes (namely sweats) between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. More than half of them plan to wear sweats more than five hours a day. Read on

Australia – Lion’s foray into craft beer

Japan’s brewer Kirin has tasked its Australian subsidiary Lion with buying craft brewers in the UK and United States. Observers wonder: Is this a coherent and considered strategy, which will prove profitable, or just a case of posting flags on a map? On the face of it, Kirin is following in the footsteps of AB-InBev and Heineken, which have been busy snapping up craft brewers in order to expand their portfolios of super-premium brands. But here the similarities end. Read on

USA – AB-InBev might sell stake in packaging unit

AB-InBev is weighing the sale of its packaging business, which could be valued at between USD 5 billion and USD 6 billion, Reuters reported on 28 November 2019. Read on

USA – Molson Coors said to contemplate sale of European unit

Following Molson Coors’ recently announced restructuring programme, analysts are wondering if it might pave the way for an asset sale. Advisory firm Evercore ISI has speculated that Molson Coors may be interested in selling its European operations. The idea isn’t all that farfetched, given Molson Coors’ assertion that its Europe business would be “structured to allow for standalone operations” as part of its restructuring plan. Read on

United Kingdom – BrewDog offers free beer to anyone who votes in election

To encourage more people to vote on 12 December 2019, Scottish craft brewer BrewDog is offering a free pint to every voter at its bars, regardless of who they voted for. The offer is only valid on the day the UK goes to the polls. Read on

United Kingdom – Mikkeller opens second London bar

Business in London must be good for Mikkeller to move forward with a second London taproom in conjunction with 1980s pop star Rick Astley. The Exmouth Market site, previously a rotating pop-up space, will allow Mikkeller to also brew beer on site. Read on

Germany – Aldi prevents brewer Krombacher from hiking its price

Read and weep. Krombacher is one of Germany’s most popular pils brands. Since May 2017, Krombacher in cans has been available at Aldi. This must have boosted Krombacher’s sales. But at a price. According to the German trade publication Lebensmittelzeitung, Krombacher wanted to raise prices for its cans as of January 2020. The price hike – EUR 0.05 – would have pushed the retail price of a 500 ml can up to EUR 0.84 (USD 0.93). Read on



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